4 Steps to Winterize Your AC System

Winterize Your AC System: 4 Steps to Protect Your HVAC System

While you are waiting for the arrival of cooler weather, here are a few steps to Winterize Your AC System you can take to prepare your system for winter.

  1. Change Your Filter to Winterize Your AC System

According to the EPA, changing your air filter is a vital maintenance step!1 It impacts the indoor air quality, system performance, utility cost, and longevity of your HVAC. During the spring and summer months, a filter removes pollen; during the fall and winter months, it removes dust and mold spores. All year round, a filter is removing airborne particles, keeping them from recirculating throughout the house.

The HVAC air filter needs to be changed at least every three months. If this simple task is hard to remember, set electronic or analog calendar reminders. Use key dates that help you remember, such as seasonal calendar dates or holidays (Valentine’s Day, Memorial Day, Labor Day, and Thanksgiving Day).

Not all air filters perform equally; filters are rated on a MERV scale—the higher the number, the smaller the opening. A filter with too large openings fails to trap particles, while a filter with too small openings can restrict airflow and stress your system. MERV filters between 8 and 11 are best for home use; check the manufacturer’s guidelines for your system.

  1. Clean Vents, Returns, and Registers to Winterize Your AC System

Some airborne particles will get past the air filter and get deposited in inconvenient spaces. During cold weather months, your windows and doors remain closed for months to keep the warm air in and the cold air out. Removing this dust will further improve your indoor air quality.

Look for the dust around the floor registers and the cold air returns on the walls. This is easily wiped away with a damp cloth. This is an excellent time to clean your vents; it is recommended that vents be cleaned every 3 to 5 years.

  1. Outdoor TLC Steps to Winterize Your AC System

The outdoor portion of your HVAC system is the condenser unit and the fall is a perfect time to treat it well. First, make sure that leaves and yard waste do not blow against the base or fall inside. Trim shrubs and plantings at least 2 feet from every side of the unit. Second, use a garden hose (not a power washer) and gently rinse the sides of the condenser. You should see an accumulation of dust in the run-off water. This unit transfers heat quickly and the accumulated dust hinders the transfer.

Third, it might be tempting to cover the condenser unit over the winter, but do not cover it until you know it will not be used AT ALL for the heating season. Most HVAC systems use heat pump technology for both air conditioning and heating; it is the most efficient method for both processes. A cover over the condenser unit will inhibit the transfer of heat and lead to overheating your system.

  1. Inspect Annually

Your manufacturer’s guideline calls for an annual preventative maintenance inspection to help your system to run efficiently for the maximum number of years. An inspection serves to determine whether repairs are needed, determine system efficiency, and thoroughly cleaning of the interior components. An annual inspection helps to catch little problems before they become big problems. Repeating repairs might indicate unusual stress—something that will need to be solved before it leads to component failure.

Have Questions About the Steps to Winterize Your AC System?

With our four decades of experience as an Air Conditioning contractor, AirPro Houston provides you with the skill and expertise to assist with the steps to Winterize Your AC System and answer questions about your air conditioning system maintenance.

We have several financing options available with great options with up to 72-month terms with approved credit. Call us today at  281-880-8805 and let us partner with you for all of your Air Conditioner Tune Up maintenance, repair, and installation needs.

1 https://www.epa.gov/indoor-air-quality-iaq/air-cleaners-and-air-filters-home

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