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How to winterize your window or central air conditioner

Now that winter has dug its claws in all around British Columbia from Vancouver to Kelowna, there are some things that need to be done around the house. The cold temperatures and heavy snowfall can do some damage to things like air conditioning units if they are left unprotected.

Therefore, it is a good idea to take some preventative measures to protect your air conditioning unit. Even though it might seem like summer will never return, it is on its way. And when those stifling hot days do arrive, you will be thankful that you took these steps so that your air conditioning unit will work when you need it most.

Steps to Winterizing your A/C unit

First, start by gathering the supplies you will need to winterize your air conditioner. This includes:

  • Hose attached to a water line
  • A waterproof plastic sheet or vinyl tarp large enough to easily cover the unit
    Bungee cords or vinyl rope
  • Foam pipe covers
  • Duct tape

Next, locate the air conditioning circuit near your unit. It will normally have a lid that covers and protects the electrical circuit. Once you find it, turn the switch from on to off. This is an important step because in places like Vancouver and Kelowna, it is not unusual to have a warm spell during the winter months. Turning the unit off will make sure it doesn’t kick on on a warm day and it will keep water from circulating through the air conditioner which could then later freeze.

Then, give the air conditioning unit a good clean with the hose. Make sure to remove all build up like leaves, twigs, dirt, bird droppings and anything else that might have accumulated in and around the unit. Make sure the unit is completely dry before moving forward.

Once the unit is clean and dry, measure the length and diameter of all exposed pipes. Then cover the pipes with measured foam pipe covers. These foam covers will insulate the pipes and prevent them from freezing when the temperature drops during a cold snap. Secure them in place with duct tape. It is good to note that these foam protectors can be left on year round. You will need to replace them if the foam starts to break down but leaving them on will save you a step next winter.

Now that the pipes are protected, take the waterproof plastic or vinyl sheeting and cover the unit. While there are air conditioning covers that are manufactured to fit snugly, any waterproof sheet will work just as well while costing less.

When the protective plastic or vinyl sheeting is in place, secure it with the ropes or bungee cords. You can do this by stretching the cord around the unit and securing them together when they meet. You can go once or twice around, depending on how secure the sheeting is.

After that, check on the unit every so often during the winter, especially after a big weather system. It’s a good idea to keep the unit free of heavy snow and to check to make sure that the vinyl or plastic sheeting is staying secure.

You will find that these winterizing steps will protect your air conditioning unit against the damage caused by cold temperatures, snow and ice. It will also help prevent rust from occurring, which can shorten the life of your unit. Then before you know it, spring will appear and summer is soon behind it, and you will be glad that you took these simple steps to keep your air conditioning unit in great working order.

If you have any questions about how to winterize your air conditioner or have any heating or cooling needs, don’t hesitate to give us a call at Lillie Family Heating in Vancouver or Kelowna.