How To Prep Your Air Conditioner For Winter

In the summertime, using your residential AC unit is often essential. Residential cooling systems account for around 5% of all electricity produced in the entire nation, and we rely on AC units to keep our homes cool and comfortable during the warmer months. But that doesn’t mean you can just forget about it once the temperatures start to drop. To ensure you won’t have to deal with unnecessary AC repairs or replacement come next year, you’ll need to perform some seasonal air conditioner maintenance before the winter hits. Here are some basic steps to follow when readying your AC for winter.

  • Power Off: Once you’ve determined that the warm weather is truly over for the year, you’ll need to turn off the power to the residential air conditioning unit. By turning off the exterior power circuit, you’ll prevent any electrocution issues throughout the rest of this process. You’ll also ensure that the AC unit won’t turn on before you want it to next year. That will reduce the likelihood of damages caused by water or debris.


  • Clean Up: You’ll want to clean both the air conditioner and your yard during this step. Sweep up debris and twigs that you find on or around your AC unit. You can also use a vacuum and even a hose, if necessary (just make sure to let it dry completely afterward). If you don’t feel comfortable performing interior air conditioner maintenance and cleaning, you can always contact your HVAC service to do this as part of your regular inspection. You can probably handle clearing your property of long grass and trimming surrounding trees, however. There should be about three feet of clearance on all sides of your unit when you’re done. This can reduce the risk of damage throughout the winter.


  • Inspect and Repair: Here’s where the real air conditioner maintenance comes into play. It’s essential that you call your HVAC company now to perform an inspection (and repairs, if needed) now so that you won’t be surprised when the temperatures rise again. Performing these tasks in the fall can allow for better technician availability and reduced homeowner stress. Plus, your technician can give you a heads-up about any major repairs or potential replacement that may need to be performed in the near future. Even if you opt to wait on these tasks, this information can allow you to budget so that the expense won’t be an undue burden later on.


  • Cover Correctly: The question of whether to cover your AC unit is one of debate. But while your unit may be able to withstand some winter weather without protection, many experts feel it’s best not to risk potential damage. As long as you cover your unit correctly, you shouldn’t have to deal with many of the potential pitfalls. Make sure you use a cover that’s specially designed for your unit. This will allow for the proper fit that offers both ventilation and protection from the elements. However, if you have to choose between no cover and a makeshift one that you cobble together, it may actually be better to forgo covering it at all. Covering your unit improperly can lead to mold growth, animal activity, and other damage.



Autumn air conditioner maintenance will allow you to protect your unit for many seasons to come. If you have questions about specific steps to follow or want to make a service appointment, please contact us today.