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How to Prep Your AC for Cold Weather

December 9, 2019
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Anyone who’s spent time in the Tampa Bay area knows it does get cold here. Sure, the rest of the country may laugh when we’re shivering at 65 and they’re in the minus range but our pain is real. Winter is also the time when we get to shut one of our hardest working home mechanics down for at least a few weeks.

Before you do that, there are a few things you should know. The following checklist will help you prep your AC for Florida’s short winter and ensure it works as well in the spring when you turn it back on as it did in the fall.

Winterize Your Florida Air Conditioner

  • Get your unit serviced by an AC technician. You want peace of mind over the winter that your system was in good working condition. If you’ve been putting off an upgrade, the fall or early winter is an ideal time to replace your AC. Not only is downtime not a big deal but you might find some good prices this time of year.
  • Clean your AC. Hose it off to remove bird droppings, dog urine, small creatures, and other things that make their way into our units down here. Pick up any twigs and clear away things that have grown up around the unit. You need the ventilation around it so make sure it’s free from high grass, weeds, and plants.
  • Examine the condition of the coils from the outside. If you have a dog, it’s not uncommon for the dog urine to have a caustic effect on the unit.
  • Replace your air filter. You should be doing this regularly anyway, based on the manufacturer’s suggestion, but a change of season is also a good reminder to do it, particularly because of fall’s dust and allergens that can be sucked up into it causing the system to run less efficiently.
  • Check the condition of the AC unit. Look for cracks, pipes that aren’t connected, and drains that are clogged. You needn’t be an AC technician to be able to see a problem. With the heavy rains, winds, and hurricanes in Florida, things can become disconnected or cracked without us realizing it.
  • Cover the AC and use foam insulation to cover pipes. This is not necessary except in extreme cold. Just for clarification, extreme cold is not 40 degrees. We suggest covering at temps closer to 20 and below. It could happen in the Tampa Bay area, although chances are you’re going to need the blanket more than your AC will.
  • Check your AC every week or so for twigs and other debris that blows in as well as creatures that could be looking for a home when it gets chilly. Keep the unit clutter free and it should start fine come spring.
  • Cover the AC and use foam insulation to cover pipes. This is not necessary except in extreme cold. Just for clarification, extreme cold is not 40 degrees. We suggest covering at temps closer to 20 and below. It could happen in the Tampa Bay area, although chances are you’re going to need the blanket more than your AC will.
  • Check your AC every week or so for twigs and other debris that blows in as well as creatures that could be looking for a home when it gets chilly. Keep the unit clutter free and it should start fine come spring.

Another thing you may want to do while you’re prepping your AC for some well-deserved rest is fire up your heater to make sure it’s running efficiently. It’s better to know you have an issue now than to wait until you’re freezing at 4 a.m. in January.

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