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How To Winterize Your Air Conditioner

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As the winter season descends upon us, it’s common for homeowners to shift their focus away from air conditioning units. However, neglecting your AC during the colder months can lead to potential issues when the warmer weather returns. Proper winter care for your air conditioner is not only a preventive measure but also a key factor in ensuring its longevity and optimal performance. This article will guide you through the necessary steps to safeguard your AC unit during the winter.

Cleaning and Protecting the External Unit

The first step in winter AC care involves cleaning and protecting the external unit. It’s crucial to remove any debris, leaves, or branches that may have accumulated around the unit during the fall. This not only helps prevent airflow obstruction but also ensures efficient operation when you eventually need your AC again. Additionally, consider covering the unit with a waterproof and breathable cover. This protective layer shields it from winter elements without trapping moisture, a common culprit for potential damage.

Sealing and Insulating Gaps

How To Winterize Your Air Conditioner

A critical aspect of winter AC care often overlooked is checking for gaps or openings around windows and doors near the air conditioner. Sealing these gaps is not only beneficial for preventing cold drafts from entering your home but also reduces the workload on your heating system, indirectly contributing to the overall energy efficiency of your home. Furthermore, proper insulation safeguards the AC components from extreme cold, preventing potential damage that may occur in harsh winter conditions.

Adjusting the Thermostat

While it might seem counterintuitive, adjusting your thermostat during the winter can play a significant role in your air conditioner’s well-being. Set the thermostat to a moderate temperature to ensure it doesn’t dip too low. This prevents the AC unit from experiencing extreme temperature fluctuations, which could lead to issues when it’s time to use it again. Striking a balance that keeps your home comfortable without putting unnecessary strain on the system is key to maintaining its health.

Regularly Changing Air Filters

How To Winterize Your Air Conditioner

Air filters are a crucial component in maintaining the efficiency of your air conditioner. Even during the winter when the unit is not in use, dust and debris can accumulate. Regularly changing air filters ensures that when you eventually turn on your AC, it will deliver clean and healthy air. This simple step not only contributes to the overall well-being of your household by promoting better indoor air quality but also extends the life of your air conditioner.

Professional Inspection and Maintenance

Consider scheduling a professional inspection and maintenance service for your air conditioner before winter sets in. A qualified technician can identify potential issues, clean internal components, and make necessary adjustments to ensure your AC is in optimal condition. This proactive approach can prevent costly repairs down the line and significantly extend the lifespan of your unit, saving you both time and money in the long run.

Elevating the Outdoor Unit

How To Winterize Your Air Conditioner

In regions where heavy snowfall is common, elevating the outdoor unit can be a game-changer. This precautionary step prevents the unit from being buried in snow, which could lead to corrosion and other issues. By elevating the unit slightly above ground level, you ensure proper airflow and protect it from potential winter hazards. This small measure can go a long way in preserving the health of your air conditioner.

Monitoring for Unusual Sounds or Odors

Even when not in use, it’s essential to periodically listen for unusual sounds or odors emanating from your air conditioner. Strange noises or unpleasant smells could indicate underlying issues that require attention. Addressing these problems promptly can prevent further damage and ensure your AC is ready for use when the weather warms up. Proactive monitoring is a key element of effective winter care.


Taking the time to care for your air conditioner during the winter months is not just a routine chore; it’s a proactive measure that pays off in the long run. By following these comprehensive steps, you not only ensure the longevity and efficiency of your AC unit but also contribute to a comfortable and healthy indoor environment. Winter maintenance is, in essence, an investment in the future performance of your air conditioner, making it more likely to function optimally when you need it the most. Don’t let the cold season catch you off guard – prioritize your air conditioner’s well-being, and you’ll be sure to enjoy a cool and comfortable home when summer arrives.

How To Winterize Your Air Conditioner

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Written by HVAC Contributor

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