By Brenda Ashaka
Alpha 4 Real AC Repair & Heating, Katy, TX
Summer temperature in Texas soared to triple digits. It is estimated that 2023 summer was the hottest on record in Houston, Sugar Land, Katy, and other nearby cities.
If you have lived in the Houston area long enough you will remember the 2021 winter cold blast. It followed a similar hot summer season, although it wasn’t as hot as this year’s summer, yet the winter temperatures that year dipped into the single digits and the grid could not handle it.
Houston AC repair experts say they expect this year to follow a similar pattern of low freezing temperatures in the Houston area.
So is essential that your air conditioning and heating system is properly maintained and working as intended. To ensure that you are not left in the cold in the middle of winter, there are steps you can take now.
Preparing your air conditioning (AC) system for a winter cold blast is an important step to ensure it remains in good condition and functions optimally.
Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you prepare your AC system for the coming winter cold blast.
1. Clean the Exterior Unit
Start by turning off your AC unit at the thermostat. Make sure it’s completely powered down. Remove any debris, leaves, or vegetation that may have accumulated around the exterior condenser unit (the unit outside). Trim any overhanging branches or shrubs to ensure they don’t interfere with the unit during winter storms. Leaves accumulating in or around the unit can interfere with a smooth operation of your unit.
2. Cover the Outside Unit During the Winter Cold Blast
Consider covering the condenser unit with a specially designed AC cover or a tarp. This can help protect it from ice, snow, and debris during the winter months. Be sure to secure the cover properly to prevent it from blowing away. Ice in the system can damage the system and result in unnecessary breakdowns and costly repairs.
3. Inspect and Replace Filters
Most homeowners are not familiar with the importance of AC filters. When we visit these homes for repairs, we find that most filters have not been changed for months or even years. This is bad for your unit. Dirty filters force your system to worker harder than it should. Check the air filters in your AC system. If they are dirty or clogged, replace them. Clean filters ensure better indoor air quality and can improve the efficiency of your HVAC system.
4. Seal Air Leaks
Check for any gaps or cracks around windows and doors that could allow cold air to enter your home. Seal these gaps with weatherstripping or caulk to improve energy efficiency. Having cracks around your doors and windows is like throwing your hard-earned dollars into the garbage can. Your AC unit can be working had to heat up your home but if you have cold air coming in from outside, it just means your unit has to working extra hard to maintain the right temperature in your home.
5. Insulate Ducts
If you have exposed ductwork in unheated areas of your home, consider insulating them. This can prevent heat loss and keep your HVAC system from working harder than necessary. This is the same process as we mentioned above. Any unsealed cracks in your ductwork just allows heated air to escape, forcing your unit to have to work extra hard to maintain your home’s temperature.
6. Program Thermostat
If you have a programmable thermostat, adjust it for lower temperatures during the winter months. This can help save energy and reduce heating costs. People always ask us what the optimal temperature in a home should be and our answer is that depends. Since every individual is different, set the temperature to what is best for you and your family. There is no one-size-fits-all temperature for the home.
7. Schedule Professional Maintenance
We can’t emphasize this enough. Regular AC maintenance ensures that your unit is working optimally at all times and prolongs the life of your AC unit. It also saves you money. It’s a good idea to schedule a professional HVAC maintenance check before winter arrives. A qualified technician can inspect your system, clean components, and make any necessary repairs to ensure it’s in top working condition.
8. Check the Drainage System
Ensure that the AC’s drainage system is clear and unobstructed. This will prevent any water from freezing in the drainage pipes, which could lead to damage. The AC drainage system is one of those things most homeowners love to forget or ignore but a clogged AC drainage system can severely damage your unit and lead to unnecessary costly repairs. It is important to regularly check your AC drainage system so ensure it is unobstructed or clogged.
9. Monitor the Weather
Keep an eye on the weather forecast and remove any accumulated snow or ice from the AC unit’s cover as needed. Excess weight from ice and snow can damage the unit. Keeping an eye on the weather forecasts also allows you to adjust your home’s temperatures as needed.
By following these simple steps, you can help protect your AC system during the winter months and ensure it’s ready to keep you and your family cool and comfortable during the dog days of winter when it is freezing cold and when the warmer weather returns.
If you need help maintaining your AC or heater for the winter months, call the experienced AC repair and maintenance technicians with Alpha 4 Real AC Repair and Heating Service at 281-347-7325. We answer all call 24/7.