How to Winterize a Central Air Conditioning Condenser

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The winter months are fast approaching, and,if you live in an area prone to cold weather, it is time to prepare your home for the snow, ice and frigid temperatures on deck. Since Mother Nature is going to turn down the thermostat, the first step you can take is getting your central air conditioning unit ready for the season. Preparing your air conditioner for winter involves very little technical work, but these simple preventative steps can prolong the health and effectiveness of your unit.

Things You'll Need

  • Air conditioning cover
  • Whisk or corn broom
  • Turn off your exterior power to the central air unit. Central A/C units have exterior circuits that control the power that runs to the unit. To do this, open the lid to the box and find the circuit, shown in the picture as a red rectangle with a handle. Pull the circuit out, flip it upside down and reinsert it into the slot. Then flip the lid shut. This accomplishes a number of tasks. First, it prevents any damage to the unit or electrocution when working with the unit. Also, it prevents someone from accidentally turning on the A/C during the winter. The condensing unit inside your A/C unit requires water to create the cool air. If the water is exposed to freezing temperatures, it can damage your condenser.

  • Clean off the outside of your unit. Falling and blowing leaves and grass that has been cut and blown against the A/C unit should be swept off using a corn or whisk broom. In addition, clear out any debris that may be near the unit so that winter winds do not blow it underneath or into the unit.

  • Check the unit for any cracks to the casing. Most air conditioning units are made from metal, but some are plastic. Take a good look at the exterior of the unit for any rust or cracks. Inspect crevices to make sure that seals are tight. If you find that there is a crack or broken seal, contact a professional to perform the service.

  • Cover your unit. Air conditioner covers cost between $15 to $30, depending on the size of your unit and the retailer. Covering your unit can protect it from the elements and prevent the onset of rust or weather wear.

  • Check on your unit during the winter. Clear snow and ice build up from the top of the unit. Unnecessary weight on the top of the unit will only strain the steel of the machine and could cause future damage.

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