How to Properly Winterize Your HVAC System
With winter on the horizon, now is the time to take steps to ensure that your HVAC system is ready for the extreme cold we’re likely to experience here in Roseville, MI. For the most part, winterizing your HVAC system isn’t complicated. However, it can be time-consuming, which means that you need to give yourself enough time to complete all of the steps before winter rears its ugly head. The following are some things that we at C & C Heating & Air Conditioning do to get our HVAC systems ready for winter that we’d recommend you do, as well.
1. Clean Your Outside Air Conditioner Unit
With the fall season comes a lot of falling debris. Some of this debris can end up in your outdoor air conditioner unit. Although your outdoor unit is designed to operate safely with some debris in it, it’s best if you can remove this debris before winter settles in so that the debris doesn’t sit inside the unit all winter.
Making sure the power is turned off to the unit, you can take off the top cover and use a shop vac to remove all the debris. You can also use a hose to wash off the fins that make up the outside of the unit. Once the unit is thoroughly dry, you can re-attach the top cover to prevent further debris from entering your unit.
2. Turn off the Power
Given that any device that’s connected to electricity can suffer from a power surge, it’s important to protect against power surges as much as possible. This is especially true when you’re talking about expensive equipment such as an air conditioner compressor. The best way to protect your compressor against power surges is to turn off the power to the compressor at the breaker box for the winter.
Taking this step will also ensure that the compressor doesn’t draw any “vampire power” when it’s not in use, thus helping to keep your utility bills as low as possible. It’s important, though, that you make a note to restore power to your outdoor unit in the spring before you turn your air conditioner on for the first time. If you forget to do this step, you could cause damage to your air conditioner that would likely then need repairs from C & C Heating & Air Conditioning in Roseville.
3. Repair Insulation
Your air conditioner’s refrigerant line is responsible for circulating refrigerant from the inside to the outside of your home and back again. The portion that is outside needs to be properly insulated to maintain the temperature of the refrigerant and to protect the pipe itself from corrosion.
Since winter weather can be especially hard on metal pipes, it’s important to have a technician from C & C Heating & Air Conditioning inspect the insulation on your refrigerant line to ensure it’s in good shape. If there are chunks missing, it’s wise to wrap those areas to ensure they don’t suffer during the winter. If there’s too much of the insulation missing, it’s typically best to start from scratch and replace it all.
4. To Cover or Not to Cover?
For some people, the winterization of their HVAC system isn’t complete until they put a cover over their outdoor air conditioner unit. However, this is usually not the best course of action to take despite the wide availability of air conditioner covers.
For starters, outdoor units are designed to withstand the effects of moisture. After all, your outdoor unit sits uncovered all summer long during countless rain showers with no ill effects. Just because the temperature of the precipitation will be colder doesn’t mean it will suddenly start negatively affecting your outdoor unit.
Additionally, there are inherent problems with covers that can cause detrimental effects to your outdoor unit. The main problem is that air conditioner covers are designed to be waterproof. After all, if they weren’t waterproof, there wouldn’t be much point in using them in the winter. Unfortunately, waterproof material isn’t breathable.
This means that if moisture finds its way into your outdoor unit from underneath or through a small tear in the cover, it won’t have an easy way to evaporate. This could lead to rust and other problems in your outdoor unit that could be avoided if you simply left your unit uncovered. Therefore, we at C & C Heating & Air Conditioning do not typically recommend using a cover for your air conditioner’s outdoor unit.
5. Have Your Furnace Inspected
To ensure that your furnace is ready for action the moment that cold weather strikes, it’s important to have it inspected by someone from C & C Heating & Air Conditioning while there’s still warm weather left. A thorough inspection will reveal any potential vulnerabilities in your furnace that could lead to a breakdown sometime during the heating season.
In addition to inspecting your system, the check-up that we do at C & C Heating & Air Conditioning includes cleaning of any dirty components, full lubrication of all moving parts, continuity tests of all electrical components, and an overall system and safety test. Plus, we can help you optimize your thermostat settings to help you minimize energy usage and wear and tear on your furnace, even when it’s brutally cold outside.
It’s important that you have this inspection completed every year because issues can develop during a heating season that may not have been there at the beginning. Therefore, if you have an inspection completed every year, you can enjoy reliable operation from your furnace for years to come.
6. Make Sure Your Insulation Is Adequate
Once you have finished taking care of the mechanical components of your HVAC system, it’s important to look at the passive components: namely, the ducts. After all, it does you no good to have a properly winterized HVAC system if your ducts aren’t properly protected from the impending cold temperatures.
Proper protection for ducts means proper insulation. If your ducts aren’t properly insulated, the air in them will change temperatures as it flows to the various rooms in your home. This could lead to a reduction in your furnace’s efficiency.
The problem that we at C & C Heating & Air Conditioning see most often with ducts is when the ducts are located in an area that’s not temperature controlled. This allows the unconditioned air to have unrestricted access to your ducts, leading to the aforementioned temperature changes as well as excess wear and tear.
To fix this problem, you need to isolate the ducts from the rest of the unconditioned space. To do this, you can either insulate the entire space or use foam insulation boards to create an insulated space for the ducts. Either way, taking these steps will help you stay much more comfortable throughout the winter.
Keeping You Comfortable When You Need It Most
At C & C Heating & Air Conditioning, we don’t want you to have to suffer during winter’s worst weather. That’s why we offer HVAC winterization services, as well as complete furnace and air conditioner maintenance and installation services year-round. We can also take care of duct cleaning, indoor air quality testing and improvement, and much more. Our A+ Better Business Bureau rating and numerous five-star customer reviews provide the extra assurance you need that the service we’ve been providing for over 70 years is just as good today as it has always been. If you want to get your furnace ready for the upcoming Roseville winter, give us a call at C & C Heating & Air Conditioning today. We look forward to serving all of your home indoor comfort needs.