Believe it or not, your air conditioning unit isn’t something to just forget about in the winter. That can cause serious problems for you down the line, which could leave you stuck with a broken unit come summer.

That is an expensive and very uncomfortable mistake to make. Let’s get to it:

screen-shot-2016-10-20-at-3-34-03-pmTurn the unit off!

Find the air conditioner circuit breaker by your unit, shown to the right of the unit in this picture, and turn it off. This is very important. On a relatively warm winter day, if you happen to be baking and you have a space heater running and the sun is shining fully into your windows, you could very well have your AC kick on.

Why is that bad? Because it can cause moisture to enter your unit. Moisture that will not have time to evaporate before the outside temperature goes below freezing and night and the expansion of freezing water wrecks your unit.

Wash your unit before temperatures hit freezing in the fall

You need to make sure that all of the debris of the fall, bird poop, twigs, leaves, and everything else is cleaned out of the unit. Allowing that to build up inside can interfere with moving parts, and if you manage to avoid that fate, it will eventually cause the unit to overheat.

Overheating can make it shut down, at which point it obviously isn’t working, or it could ignite the debris in your unit and cause a fire, so do not ignore this.

Cover the unit with something

Once you clean the unit and turn it off, cover it with a vinyl covering or a well secured tarp to prevent any new debris, water, snow, or ice from finding its way into your unit. The covering must be waterproof.

You can buy specifically designed covers for your air conditioning unit, but you can also make something else work if you’re determined.

Secure your air conditioner cover tightly with bungee cords or other means. If you fail to do this small animals may see it as a safe and cozy place to hide in the winter, and they may not all make it out in the spring. Having a dead mouse in your air conditioning unit is not something you want to have to deal with when you turn on your air conditioner the first time in the spring.

Be sure to check the unit regularly, especially after storms, to make sure that the cover remains in place all winter.

Windows Units

If you have a window unit, the easiest thing to do is simply remove the unit and store it in your house or in a shed.

Windows units also do not generally provide a good seal, which causes cold air to leak in all winter if they are not removed, which has a significant impact on your heating bill.

Be kind to the environment and to your wallet by taking it out.

Follow these tips to prevent damage to your your air conditioning unit and it will last you much longer.

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