21 Jan Why It’s Best to Check Your Cooling Systems in the Winter
One of the most important tasks that your heating system performs during the winter months is regulating the temperature within your building. … HVAC units are built to withstand some snow and ice, but too much will cause damage to your system as they need room to breathe and properly operate.
Delaying or ignoring proper winterization for your cooling systems can cause a host of problems including unsafe work conditions, broken equipment, higher energy bills, and even code violations. Your cooling system needs specific care before shutdown or lay-up.
Your winterization strategy should include, but is not limited to, the following:
- A complete system checkup, including testing controls and water testing
- Open systems cleaning, disinfection, and passivation
- Plan to insulate and heat trace pipes and sprinklers
- Introduce anti-freeze to systems that will remain exposed to the cold
- Temperature control of your towers and mechanical rooms
- Weather stripping doors and windows
- Check central air conditioning
Why Test Your AC in Warm Weather?
Most air conditioning manufacturers and HVAC professionals agree an outdoor condensing unit should not be run in cold weather for any reason at any time. The reason is that the oil used to lubricate the compressor does not lubricate well when it’s cold. The lubricant in a home air conditioner is not unlike the lubricant in your car. There are different grades, like summer-weight and winter-weight. The summer-weight oil used in the standard air conditioner is a heavier oil grade and only works well during warmer weather conditions. In cold weather, the oil is too thick for safe operation of the AC system.
TEPS TO TAKE TO PREPARE YOUR HVAC SYSTEM FOR SUMMER
REPAIR OR REPLACE DAMAGED PIPE INSULATION
The large copper pipe that connects your outdoor unit to your home is the suction line. If the suction line has damaged insulation, you could be losing the required level of cooling for your outdoor unit. This loss of cooling can hurt your whole system and make you lose energy, as well. Sun rot, humidity, pests and even freezing temperatures can all damage insulation. Landlords are required to remove indoor health hazards such as mold and pests under NYC Local Law 55 so the early winter months would be a good time to do it. A professional can help you complete this necessary task.
CLEAN THE AREA AROUND THE OUTDOOR UNIT
Most HVAC systems need a minimum of 3 feet of clearance on all sides of the outdoor unit to operate efficiently. Remove any trash or debris from around the unit, and clear away any branches or mulch that have gathered around the base. When you’re cutting the grass over the summer, make sure the clippings don’t pile around the unit.
CLEAN THE CONDENSER COILS
Depending on where your outdoor unit sits, trash, vegetation or other debris may have become lodged in its condenser coils. These grille-like sections of the outdoor unit are essential for transferring heat when the unit is running. If they become clogged, they can’t transfer heat effectively. Dry debris in the unit exposed to this much heat can also lead to possible fires. Check these often and spray them clean with your water hose when needed.
CHANGE YOUR AIR FILTERS
After a winter of keeping your home warm, your air filter is due for a change. Dirty filters make your system less efficient because they must work harder to circulate the same amount of air as with a clean filter. Making your system work harder can lead to early breakdowns, which could be disastrous in the peak of the summer heat.
Clean filters also help keep contaminants from building up in your ducts. Dust and pollen can cause discomfort, but biological contaminants can be much more harmful. Check your filters often.
Any major maintenance and repairs to cooling equipment should be done in the wintertime so that your cooling system is ready for when the temperatures rise. If it isn’t taken care of in during the winter months then you will stuck having to repair equipment in the warmer months when it is needed most.