House AC unit covered in snow during the winter

Should I Winterize My HVAC System?

You may have already winterized your yard and some of your windows and doors, but what about one of the most essential systems in your home, your HVAC system? Winterizing your HVAC system (central air conditioners) and having your heating system (furnace or heater) inspected each fall will be beneficial for maintaining a healthy system throughout the year. Winterizing an HVAC system can be broken into two parts: an annual inspection and tune-up of a home’s furnace or heating system and whole-home humidifier. This should include cleaning, inspecting, and covering of an exterior air conditioner or air exchange heat pump.  

If you make winterizing your AC a part of your annual HVAC maintenance you can help extend the life of your system and ensure it continues to run efficiently throughout the year. 

Why Is It Important to Winterize My Air Conditioner?  

Because AC units are exposed to the elements, the harshness of debris or changes in the weather and temperature can wreak all sorts of havoc on your AC unit and cause it to rust, clog, and deteriorate more rapidly than normal.  

Replacing your AC unit can be a costly investment, so why do it before you have to. Following a few simple steps can help protect your system and extend the life of your unit.  

  1. Follow a winterization process: Winterize your air conditioner every fall and protect it from the elements to minimize the risk of damage from weather and falling debris. If you don’t winterize your air conditioner, you run the risk of frozen or clogged AC drain lines, which can do permanent damage to your unit.  

  1. Hire a professional inspector: If your HVAC system is not properly maintained, it will become less efficient and eventually wear out faster than it should. Hiring an HVAC professional to inspect your system (furnace and AC) will ensure it’s operating safely and efficiently. 

*Air source heat pumps are exempt from winterization because they may be used all year. However, they should be professionally maintained yearly.  

How to Winterize an HVAC System 

Winterizing your HVAC is best left to the professionals who have the knowledge and tools to properly clean and inspect each part of the system, and fix any problems they find (within the furnace, air exchange heat pump, or whole-home humidifier).  

During the fall and winter, leaves, snow, water, or debris can damage your AC or outdoor heat pump unit. Before the weather takes control, call your HVAC professional to start the winterizing process. They should take the following steps to properly winterize your HVAC system:  

  • Clean: Your professional will clean and remove any debris, dirt, or twigs from in or around the AC or outdoor heat pump unit. They will cut back any vegetation that has grown around it and spray it down with a hose to remove dirt and dust.  

  • Replace filters: Clogged filters put undue stress on the HVAC system and decrease efficiency. Your HVAC professional will replace the furnace and whole-home humidifier filters and prepare your AC system for the spring ahead. 

  • Inspect: Your HVAC professional will inspect the exterior AC unit or heat pump and interior furnace and whole-home humidifier for any signs of damage.  

  • Cover: From snowstorms to wind, the winter weather can cause damage to your exterior air conditioning unit or air exchange. To protect it from the elements, your HVAC professional will suggest you purchase an AC cover. Covering your unit during the winter will reduce moisture and prevent dirt, ice and melting snow from entering and possibly damaging your HVAC system. 

Is Winterizing Your HVAC System a DIY Job?  

Not really. To keep your HVAC system operating efficiently and reliably when you need it most, you should have an HVAC expert service your total system at least once per year. Setting up your winterization process is a perfect way to prepare your AC and heating system for the winter and make sure ant maintenance is up to date. For ease of scheduling, have your furnace inspected and maintained when you schedule your winterization service.  

Ongoing Air Conditioner Winter Maintenance 

It’s always a good idea to check your exterior AC unit throughout the winter. Make sure the cover hasn’t come loose, shifted or blown off. Check for any signs of damage from falling tree branches or chunks of ice. 

Although it’s usually not a problem in areas that get a lot of snow, in warmer winter climates you may have to clear vegetation that has grown around your AC or heat pump unit. Always try to keep the area around your units free from any plants, trees, or shrubs. If you’re need help maintaining the area around your AC unit, or with any landscape services, reach out to our fellow Neighborly brand, The Grounds Guys. 

Prep for Fall and Winter: Hire a Professional to Winterize Your AC Unit 

Your HVAC is a huge investment, and although you may not need your AC throughout the winter, you certainly don’t want to be dealing with an expensive repair when those sweltering summer days arrive. And to make sure you and your family stay cozy and warm all winter, you your furnace needs to be in good working order.  

Your local HVAC experts at Aire Serv are ready to help winterize your AC and make sure the heats stays on this winter. To schedule an appointment give us a call at (855) 679-0011, or visit us online today.