How To Winterize A Central AC Condenser
As the only part of your central air conditioner that is directly exposed to the elements, your condenser needs special protection for the winter months. Here are three steps any homeowner can use to winterize their central AC condenser.
Clear the Area Around the Condenser
Snow and ice around your condenser can cause more damage than you may realize. If they are allowed to build up, the cycle of melting and thawing will allow water to run into the condenser through the spaces between the aluminum fins on the unit. Water that is inside the condenser will expand when it freezes again, possibly causing damage.
Shoveling snow and ice away from your condenser, especially after heavy snowfall, is a good way to avoid this problem. If there are any icicles hanging above the condenser, you should break them off so that they do not fall and damage the unit or allow water to drip inside it.
Minimize AC Usage During Winter
If you are like many people, you may have a "set it and forget it" attitude toward your home's air conditioning. Unfortunately, this can lead to a problem if your air conditioner starts running automatically during the winner. Frequent cycling on and off with low outdoor temperature can cause your condenser to freeze up and damage internal components.
If you want to be extra careful to avoid running your air conditioner in the winter, you can shut off the power to the condenser. Many systems have a power switch located on the housing of the condenser, or a power disconnect mounted in a box near the condenser. Shutting off the power is a good idea if you live in a place with especially cold winters and know you won't need your AC for a few months.
Cover the Condenser
Covering the condenser with a plastic or vinyl cover will keep moisture out and save you the hassle of cleaning the condenser regularly. Make sure the cover is large enough to cover the entire condenser, and tie it off around the bottom of the condenser using bungee cords or rope to create an almost waterproof barrier. As an added benefit, this will prevent rodents from nesting inside of the condenser during the winter and causing damage.
Taking a few simple steps to protect your central air conditioner's condenser during the winter can greatly increase the condenser's lifespan and help you avoid costly repairs in the future. For more information, go to a website like http://affordableplumbingandheat.com/.