When to shut down your air conditioner for the season

Much like Christmas lights, many homeowners don’t know when it’s time to shut down their air conditioning system for the season. Even with the end of the hot summer days, some people delay shutting it down just incase they get hit with an unexpected hot fall day, but no one wants to have to wade through snow to put a cover on the outdoor unit.

Weather fluctuates from year to year, so there’s really no good day to mark on the calendar in advance.

Our recommendation is to link the task to some other change of seasons task you’re already doing. For example, when you put away your patio furniture, cover your swimming pool, untie your hammock, winterize your lawnmower or put your motorcycle battery on a trickle-charger.

Alternatively, you could wait for the first frost to hit. That’s a dead give-away that you won’t need to cool the house anytime soon. If you find yourself turning the heat on and you haven’t prepared your cooling system for the season yet, it’s time to get on it right away.

Why it matters

Some units, not all but some, have an internal heating system for the cooling system’s condenser. This keeps some of the liquids in the machine from freezing during operation. Unfortunately, the warmth can make an attractive nest for field mice once the cold weather hits. During the summer, the field mice have plenty of warm places to dwell in, but once it gets cold out they get desperate and will enter a condenser unit.

Wilson Brothers technicians install an electric switch for customers in their electric panel marked “AC Condenser” that will stop all power from going to the condenser. Homeowners also need to go shut down their control panels for the season as well.

Go outside and shut it off, but unless that power switch is thrown, electricity will still get to the unit.

In addition, not enough people place outdoor covers on their condensers for the winter. The units are made to be outside year round and the refrigeration oils and other liquids can safely be left inside, but a cover is still needed to protect it from direct contact with ice and snow.

Use only true factory-made covers for your specific outdoor unit. Some people try to make their own covers with blue tarps and bungee cords. While that does create a barrier for the elements, it lacks the ventilation that the proper covers have. The tarps will trap air inside and create a small habitat with trapped moisture inside. The condensation will pit and corrode the electric contractors and damage the unit.

Five tips to get your A/C running at it’s highest efficiency

Air conditioning systems require regular maintenance to keep them working at highest efficiency, whether they are window units or central A/C.

The inner components can collect dust, dirt, and mildew, which can lower their operating efficiency and your home’s air quality. Check the manual that came with your unit and follow basic procedures to keep it working properly. Here are Five Tips to get your system working properly:

  1.  Make sure the air conditioner is installed at least two feet away from foliage and 10 feet away from your dryer’s vent. Trim foliage and clean up nearby debris to minimize dirt near the condenser unit. If you have an outdoor unit for central air, do not surround it with shrubs or solid fencing.
  2. Clean or replace your air conditioner’s filter every month during regular use. If you have dogs or cats indoors or if you live in a dusty area, you may need to change or clean it more frequently.
  3. Be sure the drain line of your central air unit isn’t clogged with mold and mildew, which can cause water to back up into the home. Pour a cup of bleach into the line’s access hole each spring. If a clog occurs, place the nozzle of your wet/dry vacuum over the line’s opening to suck it out.
  4. Wipe off the housing when it becomes dirty and then remove it. Sweep any debris away from the inner components with a paintbrush. If the aluminum fins are bent, contact a repair person to adjust them.
  5. Contact a service technician yearly to inspect the condenser and evaporator coils which may require chemical cleaning. The technician can also check the motor and electrical components to ensure that everything is functioning properly.
  6. If you have questions about proper air conditioning maintenance or to schedule an Air Conditioning Tune-Up, Lowell, Nashua NH, Burlington MA, Chelmsford MA from the All Season Comfort Specialists, call Wilson Brothers today!

800-498-5373 or 978-433-5373 

What is the Mass Save Heat Loan?

Participating lenders offer 0% loans up to $25,000 (depending on the utility and the lender) with terms up to 7 years! To qualify for this type of loan, you must have a Mass Save Home Energy Assessment and install qualified energy efficiency measures recommended by a Mass Save representative.

You can get a loan from participating banks for zero interest to install energy efficient systems! No interest at all! And … it isn’t as complicated as it might sound!

Simply call Mass Save at 866-527-7983 and request a Home Energy Assessment. There is no cost or obligation. A Mass Save representative will go to your home and check windows; doors; attic, wall and basement insulation; and light fixtures and will give you a comprehensive report with recommenda- tions on how you can save energy and money.

The following energy efficiency improvements are eligible for the HEAT Loan Program:

  • High Efficiency Heating Systems
  • Central Air Conditioning/ Air Source Heat Pumps
  • Ductless Mini Split Heat Pumps
  • High Efficiency Domestic Hot Water Systems
  • Solar Hot Water Systems
  • Attic, Wall, and Basement Insulation
  • 7-Day Digital & Wi Fi Thermostats
  • ENERGY STAR® Qualified Replacement Windows

Once your Energy Audit is completed you will receive a Heat Loan Intake Form which you will need to review and sign.

The staff at Wilson Brothers Heating and Air Conditioning will help you to navigate through the application process and provide you with a list of participating lenders. We are available to answer any question you may have about the proper equipment to install and the Heat Loan Program process.

Visit the Mass Save website to learn more about this program, available to residential customers of National Grid, NSTAR Electric and Gas, and Unitil or call Wilson Brothers at 978-433-5373 or 800-498-5373.