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Step-by-Step Guide to Closing Your Air Conditioner for Winter

With the forecast calling for a milder-than-usual fall, it’s likely many of us will leave closing the air conditioner in Toronto until late in the fall. But don’t be fooled — winter is coming. Don’t let it catch you before you’ve had a chance to close the air conditioner for winter.

We’ve written a step-by-step guide to closing your air conditioner for the winter in Ontario. Many of these tasks are things homeowners can do by themselves, but you can always call us if you need a hand.

How to Close the Air Conditioner for Winter

Like any responsible supplier, we’ll never install a central air conditioner in Toronto that can’t handle a Canadian winter. However, there are a few steps you should take to ensure your system will not come on during the winter and has adequate protection from the elements.

To close an air conditioner for the winter:

  1. Turn off the air conditioning at the thermostat.
  2. Shut off power to the air conditioner.
  3. Replace or clean the air filter.
  4. Wash the outdoor condenser unit and clear away any debris.
  5. Inspect the condenser and exterior pipes for signs of wear.
  6. Cover the air conditioner with a properly-fitted cover, if necessary.

1. Turn Off the Air Conditioning at the Thermostat

Locate your thermostat and switch the air conditioning from On or Auto mode to Off.

If you have a smart Wi-Fi thermostat like the ecobee or Lennox iComfort models, you can perform this step using your mobile device!

2. Shut Off Power to the Air Conditioner

Since we’re expecting a milder fall, it’s important that your air conditioner doesn’t switch on during a brief warm spell (or turn on accidentally from someone bumping the thermostat).

Find the power switch near the outdoor condenser unit (it’s often mounted to the wall, hidden beneath a flip lid) and flip it to the Off position. Doing this will prevent the air conditioner from coming on for any reason during the winter.

It also saves energy by reducing your home’s phantom power load.

3. Replace or Clean the Air Filter

Central air conditioners use mechanical air filters to keep dust, pollen, and other indoor air particles out of circulation. These filters play an important role in improving indoor air quality.

Replacing the air conditioner’s filter (or cleaning it, if it is reusable) is something that should be done every three months of use. Since you’re working on your air conditioning system already, we recommend doing it now to save yourself the trouble next summer.

4. Wash the Outdoor Condenser Unit

Air conditioner condensers are built to protect the internal components from dirt, brush, and other outdoor debris. However, some debris always finds a way in, and it’s important not to leave it sitting there all winter long.

Use a garden hose to wash away dirt and leaves. Pick up any sticks that have fallen on or around the unit. Be careful not to bend any of the coils; if your air conditioner needs a deep clean, it may be worth calling a professional to help.

Check off the next item on the list while waiting for the air conditioner to dry completely.

5. Inspect the Condenser and Exterior Pipes

Do you spot any cracks, rust, leakage, or other damage? If so, you’ll want to take care of it before winter comes. Otherwise, the harsh weather will make those problems much worse come spring.

6. Cover the Air Conditioner with a Properly-Fitted Cover (if Necessary)

Should you cover your air conditioner for the winter? That’s a hotly-debated question. Some air conditioner installers swear by it, while others say that covering an air conditioner does more harm than good. What’s the truth?

On the one hand, a cover will protect the air conditioner from falling ice or branches during a harsh winter storm. However, an improperly-fitted cover can trap moisture and result in damage to the unit’s wiring and circuitry. Covers can also attract pests seeking shelter from the cold.

In general, it’s best only to use a cover designed by the air conditioner’s manufacturer to fit that specific model of air conditioner. Many homeowners go years without using a cover and report no issues. It’s an optional step here in Ontario.

Is Your Air Conditioner Ready for Winter?

As always, our team is happy to answer any questions you may have about air conditioner maintenance and service. Give us a call or send us a message if you’d like to inquire about your central air conditioner in Toronto or the Greater Toronto Area.

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2751 Coventry Road Oakville, ON L6H 5V9
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