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Winterizing Your Outdoor Air Conditioning Unit

A service that we stress at this time of year is arranging for a heating inspection and tune-up. This is the best way to head into the winter with confidence that your heater will work at its best, with high efficiency and low chance of a breakdown. Call us today if you haven’t scheduled your heating maintenance yet.

But your air conditioner needs a type of maintenance for the winter as well. You won’t be using the system through the coming season, but the outdoor unit of a split system AC (which is probably the type you have) can suffer damage over the season from snow and rust. It’s a good idea to winterize the outdoor unit of your air conditioner so it will be in the best condition possible when spring comes around once more.

How to winterize an AC unit

The first step to take is to locate the air conditioner’s outside circuit. This is a switch that you’ll find near the unit, usually under a metal or plastic lid. Put the switch to the “off” position. This cuts off the power to the air conditioner so that it cannot accidentally turn on when the thermostat sends a signal. If the air conditioner comes on during a brief warm spell in the winter, it can draw water inside it, which will quickly freeze.

Next, give the air conditioner a good cleaning. This isn’t a major task; you only need to take a hose and wash down the cabinet to get rid of bird droppings, dust, dirty, dead insects, etc. You may need to remove leaves and twigs by hand. Afterward, let the AC cabinet dry thoroughly.

Now place a waterproof plastic or vinyl cover over the cabinet. (The “waterproof” part is essential.) You can purchase covers that are specifically designed for HVAC cabinets, but any cover that’s a sufficient size will do the job. As long as the unit is fully covered, you’re good. To prevent a fierce Chicagoland wind from ripping up the cover, use bungee cords to secure it. Make a weekly check on the cover for the rest of the winter to see that it’s still in place.

And that’s it. If you follow these steps, you should have an air conditioner without rust or other damage that will be ready for next summer. (Yes, we know that summer like a long time away… but this planning is worth it.)

In the meantime, for your heating help, rely on Brilliant Electric Heating & Cooling in Park Ridge, IL and throughout Chicagoland.

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