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Winterize Your A/C to be ready for Spring

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With all the cold weather we’ve been having lately, hardly anyone is putting any serious thought into their air conditioning system. After all, it will be months before that system will get used again. Very few homeowners realize that this is the best time of year to take care of the yearly maintenance that is required on their air conditioning systems.

Because the system isn’t being used, it’s possible to accomplish everything on the following list without worrying that you’ll need to turn the system on. Winter is also a good time to look for discounts on professional services that your system needs.

  1. Remove debris from the outside unit. In the fall, most people have an outside unit that is covered in leaves and branches. As the weather gets colder, this debris can get covered by snow and turn into a paste that can fall through the protective grating, coating your system. Avoid this by getting that stuff away from your unit.
  2. Replace your filter. Ideally, you should replace your filter once a month, but at the very least it needs to happen once a season. As you start to use your heater, you’ll want clean air to breath.
  3. Flush your condensation pipe. This is the pipe that takes condensation from your inside unit to your outside unit. Because its end is open to the elements, however, it’s common for it to get clogged with leaves or pests in the fall. When you turn on the unit again in the spring, the condensation can cause a flood inside of your home. Flush it by pouring half a gallon of bleach through the open end in the inside unit.
  4. Clean the inside vents. The air ducts and vents in your house have been blowing air all summer, and odds are that they haven’t been cleaned. When it’s too cold to go outside, it’s a good time to take care of this chore. Use a solution of one part bleach or Lysol to two parts warm water. Remove the vent covers and use a rag to wipe as much dust from the air shafts as you can. Then, wash the vent covers before replacing them.
  5. Schedule a yearly maintenance call. Every year, it’s a good idea to have an HVAC technician come out to service and repair your unit. This visit usually involves thoroughly cleaning many of the internal parts.
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