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How to Prepare Your Air Conditioner for Our Calgary Winter

A Guide to Prepare Your AC for Winter

As we get to the end of the summer months it’s time to start thinking about preparing your air conditioner for the winter season.

Shut Down the AC

1. Turn your AC unit (AC condenser) off. You should find the electrical disconnect switch near the condenser unit, most often it is a metal box attached to the house. If you’re unable to find the switch then flip the breaker (inside) for the condenser to the “OFF” position.

Clean the Condenser Unit Area

2. Clean the condenser with a hose and sprayer nozzle, careful not to damage or bend the aluminum fins. You can also polish the outside of the unit with car polish if desired. Also clean any yard or animal debris that has accumulated around the air conditioner.

For best performance, your AC should always be unencumbered from debris by a 2 to 3 foot radius.

Change the Filter

3. If you’ve read a lot about service or maintenance of air conditioners you have probably come to understand the importance of clean filters for your system. Autumn and spring are a great time to replace your filter which will improve your indoor air quality, maintain the peak efficiency of your heating and cooling system and to extend the lifecycle of your HVAC equipment.

Listen to Detect Anomalies

4. Take a minute to listen for any irregularities or odd noises when the system is running. This is a simple procedure that may help you identify a problem that could be repaired easily and save you from a major repair bill down the road. Call an HVAC professional if you can’t diagnose the cause of an unusual noise.

To Cover or Not to Cover the Condenser

5. Outdoor AC condenser units are built and designed to be outside exposed to Calgary’s ever-changing weather. You don’t need to cover the outdoor condenser unit for a few reasons:

  1. It can trap moisture inside the unit
  2. It may attract rodents looking for shelter
  3. It’s money you don’t need to spend

You can keep some of the heavy snowfall and moisture out of the condenser by placing a board, weighted down by bricks or rocks, on top of the unit.

Schedule Maintenance

6. Your HVAC system is complex and needs to be regularly maintained. Yes you might save money short-term by not servicing your heating and cooling system but you will most likely pay a bigger price in the future with repairs that could have been prevented with regular servicing.

Maintenance service includes:

  • Air filter cleaning or replacement
  • Inspect Coolant level
  • AC coil and fin cleaning
  • Inspect cooling system
  • Inspect air ducts
  • Check for correct amount of refrigerant
  • Measure evaporator coil’s airflow
  • Verify correct electric control sequence
  • Inspect electric terminals, and clean and tighten connections
  • Lubricate motors, and check belts for tightness and wear
  • Check thermostat’s accuracy

A scheduled maintenance will also ensure your furnace is ready for the oncoming colder months.

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