You may put a lot into properly maintaining your central air conditioning unit during the warmer months, but you should also do what you can to protect it during the colder months. By not protecting your system when it's cold outside, you will be increasing the chances that it won't work right the next time you go to use it. Follow the advice below to care for your central air conditioning during the cold months.
Turn the system off
The first thing you should do is to shut the central air conditioning system off completely. This will help to prevent the unit from turning on accidentally and causing damage if water starts working its way through the system and it freezes. Also, not shutting it off completely can cost you in phantom electric usage.
Protect the unit from extreme weather conditions
The compressor to your air conditioner will be outside. While the unit is built for outside use and is considered to be a hardy and durable piece of equipment, you still want to make sure don't push your luck.
Protect the unit from debris by cutting back tree branches that hang over it so you don't risk branches or twigs snapping off in the cold and falling in or around the unit. You should also make a clear path around the unit and take necessary steps to prevent it from becoming flooded in a big rain.
If your compressor is in a place where it is in danger of taking a beating from hail or snow then it may be a good idea to build a protective box out of plywood that will fit over the compressor. You can purchase an air conditioner cover if you don't want to make a box yourself.
You should refrain from using something as thin as a tarp to cover the unit, as it won't offer it enough protection. Whether you build a box or use a cover, leave at least a few inches of space at the bottom of the unit so some air can get into it.
Check on the compressor
Even if you have the compressor covered, you want to check on it periodically throughout the colder months. Make sure debris hasn't made its way under the covering and that animals aren't messing with it.
Now that you have a better understanding of what you should be doing to protect your air conditioner during cold weather, you will have a better chance of it working correctly when you need it. For more information, visit an HVAC company like Mike's Bremen Service Inc.