3 Tips For Keeping Your Central Air Conditioning Unit Free From Damage During Cold Weather
If you live in an area where the winters stay below freezing, you may worry about that your outdoor central air conditioner may be damaged by the cold weather. If so, use the following tips to help keep your central air conditioning unit free from damage during the cold winter months:
Cut the Power
In the past, you may have felt that switching your home's thermostat from the air conditioning to the heater setting was all that was needed to turn off the AC unit. However, if there is still power running to the air conditioner, there is a chance that it could be inadvertently turned on during winter.
If someone accidentally turns the thermostat to the air conditioning setting or a power surge makes the unit switch on for a few seconds, the condenser will kick on and run coolant through its lines.
Even though the unit is turned off, the coolant will still be inside the lines. Once the temperatures drop below freezing, the liquid will then freeze and could rupture the lines or the condenser.
To ensure that the air conditioner is not accidentally turned on, make sure the switch on the unit itself is switched off. Then, as an added precaution, either unplug the unit or turn off the breaker at the main box in your home.
Cover the Top with Plywood
Although you have cut the power to your AC unit, there is still a chance that rain, ice, and snow can enter through the vents. If the condensation thaws and freezes, the expansion could damage the condenser and the motor.
Since these components are located at the top of the unit, laying a piece of plywood across the top will keep excess moisture from leaking inside. To make sure the plywood stays in place, anchor it with a couple of bricks or stones.
Avoid Covering the Unit with Plastic
If you are tempted to cover the entire unit with plastic, do not do this. Fully covering the air conditioner is not only unnecessary, but it could do more harm than good.
If the unit is covered with plastic, condensation can build-up underneath the plastic and leak in through the vents during the day when the sun hits it. Then, at night, this condensation turns to ice that could expand inside the working components and damage your air conditioner's motor or condenser.
Taking the above actions before cold weather sets in can help prevent damage to your central air conditioning unit. However, if you encounter a problem or need more information or help with winterizing your air conditioner, contact an HVAC contractor who provides AC services to seek their advice or assistance.