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Should I Protect My Air Conditioner During Winter?

The winter months are nearly upon us, and that means more and more Florida residents are shutting off their air conditioners and some are starting to fire up their heaters as the temperature drops. While Florida is certainly known for its mild winters that feature sunshine, warmth, and beauty, those who live here know that it isn’t always a paradise in the high-70s. As a result, many people often come to us asking whether or not it’s a good idea to protect their air conditioner during winter months. On this blog, we’ll explain what that means and whether or not it’s a good idea.

Protection from Weather

First thing’s first—what does your system actually need to be protected from? Arguably, the most important factor is the weather. However, Florida is unique in that the majority of our rainfall actually happens during the summer months, with winters staying considerably drier than the rest of the year. Our tropical climate means snow almost never happens, so the truth is there really isn’t much in the way of weather to have to protect your system from. Even then, modern air conditioners are built to last when left in the elements. So in all reality, the weather over winter isn’t really something you need to worry about.

Protection from Debris

Debris can and will happen during the winter months, notably because trees will begin to go into a dormant state. That means debris like sticks, leaves, and more can fall and get stuck in your air conditioner. This prevents your air conditioner from releasing the heat it needs to and prevents your air conditioner from working properly. This can also happen from plant life like shrubs, bushes, flowers, and more that may grow to the point where it encroaches on your air conditioner’s space.

However, there’s a pretty simple way of protecting yourself from this problem—before winter begins, be sure to sweep away the dust and debris from a three-foot radius around your air conditioner, and trim away any plant life or trees which may be encroaching in this area. This will ensure that not only is your air conditioner clean and clear from issues which may come back to hurt it over the next few months, but that it remains efficient should a sudden heat wave decide to hit the area.

Heat Pumps

Heat pumps are not uncommon in Florida. Because of our mild winters and generally long periods of warm weather, bi-directional heat pumps are popular heating systems which work by essentially just reversing the flow of refrigerant through your system. They’re especially popular with homes which do not have a gas connection or at least don’t have a gas connection to where the HVAC unit is located. When this is the case, your system depends on having a clean, free, and open outdoor unit in order to maximize heat capture.

Ready When You Need It

That last point is worth noting: Florida is known for beautiful weather, and that means sudden heat waves are not unheard of. When this is the case, you may need to swap over from your heater to your air conditioner, and that means your air conditioner needs to be ready to go. Implementing a full protection solution means you will need to go out and prepare your air conditioner for use again, and that will take some time and effort.

Does this mean it’s not a good idea to protect your air conditioner? Not exactly. There are benefits to covering your outdoor unit during the winter months, notably in terms of keeping it clean and in good condition. However, protecting your air conditioner doesn’t necessarily keep it clean, which means annual maintenance is still strongly recommended, even if you do. But if you rely on a heat pump for your heating during winter, you’ll definitely want to make sure your outdoor unit remains clean and uncovered for best results.

If your air conditioner or heat pump needs serviced, call the Palm Beach County air conditioning experts from Phoenix Air Conditioning, LLC at (888) 660-4337 to request a service estimate.
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