Chances are your window AC unit runs less and less as the hot days of summer give way to cool fall weather. It's often too easy to turn it off for the last time and forget about it until you need it again next summer. Unfortunately, this can mean poor cooling or necessary repairs next year, while also leaving your home exposed to cold winter drafts.
Clean It Up
Before closing down the unit for winter, take a few minutes to clean it well. Unplug your unit and remove the air filter. Most window units use reusable filters, so you just need to hose it clean.
Also, vacuum out the coils and use a fine comb to straighten the bent aluminum coils as necessary. Hose off the back of the unit to remove any dust, dirt or leaves. Do so on a sunny day so the unit will dry quickly.
Drain the Hoses
Most units drain excess condensation on their own, with the exception of evaporative units. These units use the evaporative effects of water to create cool air, so they will need their water reservoir emptied before winter storage. On both traditional and evaporative units, check the drain hoses to make sure they are clean and unblocked. You can flush them out with a 10 percent bleach solution if you notice any mildew or algae growing in the hoses or evaporative cooling reservoir.
Stop the Drafts
Your next decision is whether to leave the unit in place or to remove and store it during the winter.
Storage in place: If you opt to leave it installed, your main goals are to protect the unit from weather and to insulate the opening into your home. A combination of insulating foam sheets and an AC cover are needed. First, remove the outer housing of the unit and cover the interior workings of the AC with a small tarp or garbage bag. This both protects the unit from moisture and cuts down on drafts. Just remember to remove it before using the AC again.
Next, cut insulating foam sheets to fit around the unit, sealing up any air leaks between the unit and the window. Finally, cover the entire unit with an AC cover. You can further insulate by attaching a foam sheet or hanging a heavy blanket over the window unit inside the home.
Removal and storage: Removing the AC unit is the best option for protecting the unit and stopping all drafts in the home. Carefully remove the unit, using two people to balance it so it isn't dropped. Remove any gaskets or insulation from the window frame and clean the area well, since dirt and dust do tend to build up around AC units.
Store the AC unit in a dry place, such as a spare room, closet, or basement storage area. You may want to set the AC on top of a tarp, just in case there is any trapped moisture that drains out. Wrap the unit in an old sheet, too. This will keep dust from settling inside the unit during storage.
If your unit wasn't stored properly or if it fails to fire up again next summer, it is well worth scheduling a repair. Often, a repair technician can diagnose and fix an issue for much less than the cost of replacement. If you have questions about how an air conditioner is functioning, contact a technician with a business like Neffsville Plumbing & Heating Services.Share
15 June 2015
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