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How to Shut Down Your Air Conditioner for the Fall

Wise homeowners know that old mantra “out of sight, out of mind” tends to backfire when it comes to their appliances. If you ignore the maintenance of an appliance because it’s out of sight, it will almost certainly make its presence known, most often in the form of a repair bill.

This is especially true of the most complex appliance in your home: your central air conditioner. By fall, your AC is probably out of sight, out of mind due to its lack of use, which is precisely why fall is the time to ensure that you’ve properly shut it down for the long winter ahead. Doing so will help ensure that it’s in the best shape possible when you need it next year.

Follow these five steps to shut down your air conditioner when you no longer need it:

Turn off the exterior power

Open the lid on the condensing unit (the outdoor unit), look for the shut-off box (usually located on the exterior wall of the unit) and flip the switch. Shutting off the power will ensure that your air conditioner will not turn on if someone accidentally turns the thermostat to “cool” during the winter. More significantly, it will prevent water from pooling inside the unit, freezing and potentially causing damage to the components. Of course, make sure to turn the system back on again in the spring when it heats up again.

Clean the condensing unit

Fall is a great time to enforce your 2-foot “clear zone” above the unit and the 8-foot zone around it by removing leaves, twigs and branches that could blow into or under the unit during the winter. It’s also a good time to cut back hanging tree branches and encroaching shrubs. Once your unit is in the clear, sweep dirt away from the unit and grab a garden hose to wash off the components with a gentle stream of water.

Inspect the exterior

A dirt-free unit can help expose any damage or cracks, which you always want to get repaired before they get worse. Check to see that the seals are tight, too. Trust your good instincts as you inspect the condensing unit because if something looks suspicious, it probably is.

Protect the unit

There are two schools of thought about the choice to cover an air conditioner for the winter. People who like them say they provide a layer of protection against winter weather. People who dislike them say they heighten the risk of water getting trapped inside the condensing unit, which could lead to frozen water, corrosion or mold. Covers also can provide a safe haven for animals, who could build nests within them. Your decision may well rest on where your air conditioner is located on your property and if there are any other shielding elements in the vicinity. At the very least, place a piece of plywood over the top of the unit to act as a guard against falling ice.

Insulate the pipes

Wrap the pipes that link your air conditioner to your home with foam insulating strips and secure the ends with duct tape to prevent water from freezing.

Schedule Fall HVAC Maintenance in Chester County

Autumn is primetime to shut down air conditioners and start up heaters. Signature HVAC can help with both! We can winterize your air conditioner and maintain your furnace or heater to prepare your home for heating season. Both steps are vital to keeping your HVAC system in tip-top shape, regardless of the season.

Sign up for our maintenance agreement so that you never miss a tune-up!

Contact us now to schedule heating maintenance in West Chester, Media, or the surrounding area!

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"I highly recommend Signature for HVAC service. The entires experience with Signature has been exceptional. The process was very customer focused starting from Scott McHale's engagement to organize the project to replace our old A/C, to an professional job John & Matt had done in installation, and Bob Seeger'r post installation service to troubleshoot the air flow damper, great job."

-Hosum Li

"Very confidant! Our technician Bob Seegar was great."

-Debbie Kaba

"Joe has been servicing our geothermal from Signature since the initial instalation. He is by far the best. When they call to schedule our bi yearly maintenance they know to send Joe. Not only is great at his job he has become a friend. Thanks Joe!!!"

-jim paolella

"I would highly recommend Signature for all HVAC needs."

-jim paolella

"Bob Seeger was our technician this time around. His level of professionalism was exceptional - it really stood out! Overall we are very happy that we switched to Signature several years ago!"

-Mark Kenney

"The Signature techs who come out to our house are always top-notch professionals. Very courteous, careful, and thorough. They always provide great explanations of the work that they are doing. I never feel like I am being pressured into unnecessary work or equipment replacement (like I used to feel with Service Experts). Today, Wade was the tech who came out. He was here exactly on time at 8am, and was done within an hour. Great work and another great service experience from Signature! Update 9/27/2016 - Today Bob Seeger came out to service our system in preparation for the winter. I was extremely impressed by his professionalism and courtesy. Before he started, we sat down and he clearly explained what he would be doing as part of the maintenance, and we agreed upon the need to replace the filter on the main unit, and also to perform humidifier maintenance as part of the work. After the work was complete he made recommendations for overall system enhancements that we should consider. Signature really has top-notch people working for them, and I continue to be extremely happy that we switched over to them several years ago."

-Mark Kenney

"Bob Seeger was our person to service our furnace and water heater. He showed me a problem with our water heater that could have been a major problem. He was very honest, great and so efficient! He fixed the problem. I am kind of hoping he will be the one to work with in the spring."

-Debbie Kaba

"Always feel confident with the work performed by Danny from Signature."

-William Stolting

"Bob was quite knowledgeable of the type of geothermal system that I have in my house. Before completing the annual maintenance/tune-up that I had requested, he asked relevant questions about my geothermal system (e.g., date of installation, last service, temperature preference, electric usage, etc.). After inspecting and servicing my system, Bob explain service that my system needed now and recommendations that would benefit my system. He explained the options in a non-pressured approach, as well as, the benefit in joining Signature HVAC's service plan which was helpful. Throughout the service visit, Bob was courteous, friendly and respectful. My wife and I were very satisfied and we plan to continue to use Signature HVAC in the future."

-John Schmitt

"Bob did an excellent job. He showed up on time, was courteous, and respectful. I recommend using Bob S from Signature Heating and Air-conditioning."

-Dennis Carlson

"Great service as always. Always prompt and knowledgeable."

-Adam Lusk

"Bob was very professional and informative on the heating & air condition job at my house. He is a very nice and caring person! Thank you!"

-Colleen Esgro

"Your whole team is outstanding."

-John price

"Daniel Cross (Signature) completed a thorough and quick fall service on my heating systems. What I liked best about Danny is that he spoke to me as a knowledgeable customer rather than treating me like a clueless homeowner. So refreshing to be treated with respect by an HVAC provider! He had an opportunity to "upsell" me on a service, but was honest and told me that it wasn't valuable in my situation. I would certainly trust him to service my equipment again, and would definitely recommend him to a friend."

-Susan Wentz

"Thanks again for walking me through the process and pointing out what was going on in my system. Mold be gone! Professional and friendly service. Thanks for your help."

-Mia Bosna

"Travis is another courteous, fine professional working for you!"

-John price

"We have a by-annual cleaning/tune-up contract with Signature for care and maintenance of our heater/air conditioning units. We have found this company to be excellent in their service and their very knowledgeable , friendly technicians. We highly recommend ."

-Ric DeAngelis

"We are very pleased with Signature and their very knowledgeable Technicians. We will be continuing our By-Annual service/tune-up with them...."

-Ric DeAngelis

"I have used Signature for about 10 years now. They provide excellent service. Bob Seeger was my most recent technician and he was on time, polite, informative, and technically proficient. I highly recommend signature for your HVAC needs. I have geothermal, and they are excellent at this technology."

-Charlie Phillips

"Mike B came out for the biannual check of the upstairs system--we had replaced the downstairs system in June---we are very satisfied. Mike was thorough, very professional, answered all my (sometimes inane) questions and kept the house clean. Good job Mike and thanks."

-sylvan hurewitz
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