End-of-season A/C care this fall is directly related to reliability and performance at startup next spring. Spending months in mothballs is hard on the outdoor half of an air conditioner. Mechanical equipment sitting idle is especially vulnerable to conditions that degrade materials and components. While the system air handler and evaporator stay warm and dry indoors, outside in the backyard, the compressor and condenser are exposed to the extremes of the elements. No one knows how cold or long this winter will be, but managing end-of-season A/C care involves taking preventive measures to address the things under your control. Here are two steps you can take; either one is a good option.
- Covering the outdoor compressor/condenser unit to protect it is logical. However, there’s a right way and a wrong way. Wrapping the entire cabinet so it’s nearly air-tight may cause more harm than good. Moisture accumulation inside a tightly-wrapped unit can cause damage from corrosion, rust and deterioration. Additionally, the enclosure provides shelter for squirrels and rats that habitually gnaw on wiring and damage circuits. A better alternative is a commercially available air conditioner cover sized for the make and model of your unit. These covers protect the exterior, keeping out windblown rain and snow and nesting vermin. However, they also incorporate openings that allow continuous air circulation to prevent moisture build-up.
- The outdoor A/C condenser/compressor is often installed close to the house to keep refrigerant line sets short. This exposes them to icicles falling from eaves and gutters above. A sharp icicle weighing several pounds can damage the condenser fan in the top of the unit. Protection from falling objects can be enhanced by cutting a piece of plywood to size and placing it atop the compressor/condenser, weighed down with a couple of bricks. Also, during the winter, brush off heavy accumulations of snow or ice to prevent excessive weight on the unit.
Team Bob’s Heating Cooling Plumbing is the established source for HVAC sales and service expertise in Grand Traverse County. Ask us for more tips about end-of-season A/C care to protect your system this coming winter.
Our goal is to help educate our customers in Traverse City, Michigan and surrounding areas about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about A/C care and other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Resource guide.
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