Furnace Fiascos Avoided

Tips to Help You Prepare and Store Your Air Conditioner for Winter

Your home's air conditioner has worked hard all summer to cool you during the hottest temperatures. Now that fall is arriving, you will need to take some time and prepare your air conditioner for winter storage. Here are some tips to help you clean, prepare, and store your air conditioner until you need it again next summer.

Prepare Your Window Unit

At the end of summer and in preparation for fall's arrival, it is best to remove your window air-conditioning unit from your window and store it. This allows you to store the air conditioner unit in a safe place during winter's harsh weather and helps insulate your home to keep as much heat inside your home as possible during winter. Leaving your window unit installed in the window during winter can allow a large amount of your home's heat to escape through cracks and improper seals around the air-conditioner unit. So, instead of attempting to seal off your window air conditioner, remove the unit and close your window for winter.

After you have removed the air conditioner from the window, clean or replace its filter. If your AC unit has a washable filter, wash it with liquid dish soap and warm water, then allow it to air dry before replacing it in the air-conditioning unit. If your unit has a disposable air filter, throw away the dirty one and replace it with a new one. Next, vacuum out any debris between the unit's fins using a brush attachment, and then do some follow-up cleaning between the fins with a toothbrush to dislodge any stuck debris. Last, with your garden hose, rinse out the interior of your air conditioner that was positioned outside of your window during summer. Also, wipe down the outside of your air-conditioning unit to clean off any dust and debris.

Now you can place your air conditioner in a storage space, such as the basement, a closet, or an outdoor storage shed. During storage, it is not necessary to cover the unit with any protective cover. Be sure you place the air conditioner upright and not on its side or upside-down, as this can damage its compressor and cause the fluids inside your unit to pool and settle improperly, as this can cause problems when you turn your unit on in the spring. If your air-conditioning unit has been inadvertently stored on its side or upside-down, be sure to place it upright and allow it to sit for at least one hour before starting it up for use.

Prepare Your Outdoor Unit

An outside air-conditioner unit is stationary and not meant to be moved away for winter storage, but you should prepare it for winter inactivity. Just as with a window unit, wash or replace your air conditioner's filter, which may be located inside your home's furnace. Just as with a window unit, if the filter on your outside unit is disposable, replace it with a new filter. For a washable filter, wash it with soap and water and allow it to dry before placing it back into its housing.

Covering your outside air-conditioner unit can cause more damage to your unit than it provides in protection and is not recommended. Using a plastic or other tarp covering will trap in moisture around and inside your outdoor unit, causing rust to form. A cover will also provide protection for pests during winter, giving them the perfect place to make a home.

It is a good idea to place a piece of plywood across the top of the air conditioner and hold it down with a cement block or heavy rocks for winter. Make sure the plywood covers the entire top area of your unit. This can protect it from debris falling down into the compressor and also protect it from falling ice during winter. Any wind-blown debris that may accumulate around or inside your air conditioner during winter, you will be able to clean out in spring to prepare it for use.

Use this information to help you prepare your window and outside air conditioner for winter. For more information, consult a company such as Universal Refrigeration.