Winterizing AC unit

I live in the northeastern part of the country, where the winter weather lingers for more than half the year.

We experience temperatures down to negative twenty-five degrees. The conditions are frequently below freezing, and we set records for the amount of snowfall in a single season. We run the air conditioner four a couple of months and then it sits idle. Until recently, it never occurred to me that I should winterize the cooling equipment. The outdoor unit can get damaged by snow and ice. Winterizing the central air conditioner protects against rust and stops pests from getting inside and destroying mechanical parts. The process is quick and easy. I don’t need to call an HVAC contractor to handle it. A few simple steps keep my AC system clean and in peak working order. I’ve found that the best time to winterize the outdoor component is during the fall. Right before I need to close the windows and start up the furnace, I find a sunny day and devote a few minutes to the job. I put on a pair of gloves and remove any leaves, twigs or grass clippings that have fallen onto the unit. I use a garden hose to wash the air conditioner. The spray effectively removes bugs, droppings, dirt and dust. I then allow the system to dry completely. I locate the electrical circuit, remove the lid and flip the switch to cut off the power supply. This stops the cooling unit from starting up on a warm winter day. It keeps water out of the unit that might freeze and result in major damage. I install insulation around the pipes to safeguard against freezing. I finish by fitting a waterproof air conditioner cover over the outdoor component. Bungee cords, vinyl tie-downs and a few bricks work to secure the cover in place in case of high winds. Throughout the winter, I periodically take the time to remove snow, ice and debris from the top of the HVAC unit.

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