Winter Air Conditioner Care
Your home air conditioner was probably one of your more expensive purchases and thus you want to take care if it. Winter can be damaging to your system but removing it and storing it inside is not really an option for most home owners. We will discuss some of the ways you can protect your air conditioner as well as some of the things home owners do that can hurt your system.
Winter Air Conditioner Location
If your air conditioner is near a walkway, porch, or a location that has the potential to get salted for ice accretion then you are going to want to take additional action to protect your AC from salt. The salt will speed up corrosion significantly. I have seen home owners use skids with a tarp stapled to the outside in order to provide a sufficient salt and snow blockade.
Water or ice dripping from the roof onto your air conditioner can be a serious issue. Water expands when it freezes and can seriously damage your system. Be proactive and ensure that the eaves troughs above are clean and debris free. As a test you can spray the roof with a hose above your system to ensure that the troughs are not leaking and water is being diverted sufficiently.
Snow drifts and blowing snow are a fact of life; if your air conditioner sits in a location that is prone to snow drifts you are going to want to protect it. Blowing snow can penetrate right into the heart of an AC. Try using an old skid as a snow block or your local hardware store likely has some snow fence.
Winter Air Conditioner Protection
An air conditioner cover is a great idea for Toronto and surrounding area homeowners. The best types are made with a vinyl top, mesh sides, and a vinyl skirt around the bottom few inches. The mesh allows air to flow though the air conditioner drying it out in the spring when snow is melting back into water.
The most prevalent point of entry for water and snow is through the top of your AC where the fan sits. Placing a piece of plywood with a few bricks or rock on it can stop most of the water from entering. This is not my recommended solution but it is the cheapest.
Never Protect Your Air Conditioner like This
Under no circumstance should you just leave your AC to the elements. An air conditioner uses a lot of electricity and when wired properly is fairly safe, but adding water to the mix is a dangerous combination. Properly protecting your central air system reduces any chance of short circuiting.
Please do not wrap your central air in a plastic bag or tarp and then tape the bottom. I see this all the time and it is like keeping your system in a really moist greenhouse speeding up rust and corrosion.
Don’t use Saran wrap or cellophane as a cover, they just speed up corrosion.
Spending an hour in the fall protection your air conditioner from the winter snow, ice, and salt will go a long way in ensuring you get the full lifespan out of your central air.