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Frozen air conditioning unit
Written by Columbia Heating & Cooling

How to Winterize Your A/C

As you peer out of your window today in the Pacific Northwest there’s a high chance you’ll see clouds and rain. But luckily, you’re probably enjoying the warmth of your home thanks to your (“Columbia”) furnace. You’re probably enjoying it so much that you completely forgot about your A/C unit outside – cold and all alone.

Despite these machines being manufactured to keep us cool during the warmer months, they do not take to the cold as well. That is exactly why we have put together 5 simple winterization tips you can take in order to keep your A/C running this coming summer.

1. Turn Off The Power

Prior to winterizing your air conditioning unit, make sure it is completely powered off and shut down. Having the unit completely turned off is key and will make the winterization process much safer. Locate the disconnect switch in your A/C’s panel box and turn it off. If you’re not completely sure where it’s located, please consult your user manual or contact us and we can help!

2. Clean It

On a dry day, brush off the unit to assure it is clean and free of debris such as twigs, dirt or leaves. Having a completely dry unit is key because you don’t want any excess moisture to accumulate and freeze during the winter. Pro Tip: Use a leaf blower to whisk the natural build-up away.

3. Protect the Pipes

The pipes are the most important part of the A/C to focus on during the winterization process. You will need to install pipe covers which can help to regulate the temperature and keep them from bursting. Whether you use foam or rubber insulation materials, it should effectively protect the pipes from freezing over.

4. Don’t Cover It.

Even though air conditioning units don’t take to the cold as well, they were still built to withstand the outdoors. It is a common misconception that you have to cover your A/C unit during the winter, however, we advise against it. Instead of protecting your unit, covering it can lead to mold growth, mildew and even rodents searching for shelter. The only time you will ever need to cover your A/C is on the rare occasion of a hail storm or blizzard.

5. Maintain It

Be sure to inspect the A/C unit occasionally during the winter months and remove any debris which may have accumulated. This will assure maximum airflow when you’re ready to turn on your A/C come spring or summer.

By following the simple steps above you should be able to prep your unit to handle the wintery weather. This will extend the life of your air conditioning unit as well as save you time and money in the long run. Not to mention making your air conditioning unit feel just as warm and cozy as you do.

Is your A/C already buried away in the ice and snow? Check out our other blog post: Protect Your HVAC Unit from Snow & Ice Storms to learn how to safely remove the build-up.

Not sure where to start? Contact Columbia to assist you in winterizing your A/C unit today.