If you have recently invested in a new air conditioning system, then you are probably excited to cool off your home throughout the summer months. You will likely stop using your air conditioner in the fall, and you will need to start preparing your heating system for the winter. Before you do this, make sure to winterize your central air conditioning system. Most of the winterizing work will need to be completed outdoors, so follow the tips below so you do not skip the essential practices that will keep your air conditioner in good condition.
Remove Bird Excrement
Your central air conditioning unit sits outside your home, and this unit will likely be covered by some bird poop. It is extremely important to remove this excrement when you stop using your air conditioner. Bird excrement contains a great deal of uric acid, and this acid can eat through metal and other home materials. This uric acid is highly concentrated, because birds do not produce urine like other animals.
Water reserves must be saved during migration, and bird wastes are not diluted due to this. This means that you need to thoroughly clean the bird droppings off your air conditioner so they do not sit on the metal cover all winter long. If you do not clean the excrement away, then the droppings may eat through the paint that protects your air conditioner from corrosion. The aluminum metal will then be exposed and rust may begin to form.
Proper Cleaning Methods
Bird excrement is typically hard to remove once it dries out. The droppings are also covered in bacteria in many cases and this means that you need to create a cleaning solution that will loosen the excrement and disinfect your air conditioner. Create this solution by adding water to a five gallon bucket. Add one cup of bleach and three tablespoons of liquid dish detergent to the bucket. If you do not want to use bleach, then pour two cups of vinegar in the water instead. Vinegar is not as caustic as bleach and it will kill about 90% of the bacteria on your air conditioner.
After you create your cleaning solution, use your hose to wet the bird droppings that you see on your air conditioning unit. Allow the water to sit for about 15 minutes. This will help loosen the excrement. Use a sponge to cover the bird droppings with your cleaning solutions and allow the fluid to sit for another 15 minutes. This will help to disinfect your air conditioner so that bacteria are no longer present across the excrement. Use a scrub brush to remove the bird droppings and rinse the excrement and the cleaning solution away with your hose.
Add a Cover
Some people cover their air conditioners in the fall and others do not. Generally, people do not use covers because animals will hide under them to find refuge from the cold winter weather. As long you secure your cover properly, then this is not a problem. Go to your local home store and look for an air conditioner cover. Measure your air conditioner unit first so you can locate the right size. Look for a vinyl cover and try to find a product that says that it is resistant to mold. This will help to keep your air conditioner safe from mildew if water works its way underneath the cover.
Secure the Cover
When you buy the cover, also purchase some bungee cords. These elastic cords will stretch out to double their length, so make sure to buy cords that will reach around half the diameter of the air conditioner when unstretched. When you get home, use a towel or a rag to wipe down your air conditioner unit to make sure it is completely dry. Slip the cover over your air conditioner and secure three or four bungee cords around it. Start at the top so the cords do not force the cover off the air conditioner as your secure them.
When you get to the bottom of the air conditioner, make sure to secure the last bungee cord as close to the ground as possible. This will keep mice, chipmunks, and other small animals from nesting underneath the bottom lip of the cover. After the bungee cords are secured, set two bricks on top of the cover. This will keep the cover in place if wind works its way underneath it.
If you have recently invested in an air conditioner installation, then you need to make sure that the entire unit is protected during the cold winter months. You can do this by cleaning away bird excrement and by investing in a proper cover. For more information about the care and maintenance of your air conditioner, contact a local HVAC company, like Robert Bair Plumbing Heating & Air.