What happens to the air conditioner during the cold winter months? When winter rolls around and you feel the first hint of cold air, you start to gather your warm clothes and jackets from the closet, and most people start to snow-proof their homes and driveways to brace themselves for the next few months. Usually, grills and lawn mowers are covered and moved into the garage. This is also the time when air conditioners are turned off, not to be used for the next 4-6 months, depending on the weather.

We have often heard that appliances start to deteriorate when they aren’t used for a long time. Does the same apply to your air conditioner? Let’s find out what happens to your air conditioner when you don’t use it in the winter.

Dirt Accumulation happens

When your air conditioner sits idle for 3 to 4 months, it starts to accumulate dirt, mainly because its fan isn’t running and there is a lot of snow building up outside, so you also don’t get a chance to go out and clean your air conditioner from the outside. As a result, when you turn it on after the winters end, the air conditioner sucks in the dirt and blows into your home.

To take care of this problem, you can invest in a good quality air conditioner cover that can cover the outdoor unit of your home. This way, it will stay protected from dirt throughout the winter, and you and remove it when you need to turn on the air conditioner again.

Animals and Birds

When the air conditioner is off, its outdoor unit is also silent and not moving, and birds might see this as an opportunity to build their nests on or behind it. In 3-4 months, they will have built quite a big nest and also lay several eggs already. Moreover, small pests and creatures may also find their way inside the unit, and there is also a possibly that rodents might make their way to the compressor, chewing through refrigerant pipes and electrical wire.

This can result in a huge repair cost, and it also poses an electrical hazard that can put your safety at risk. If you turn on your air conditioner without cleaning or knowing that an animal has found their way inside, they can be killed by the moving fan blades or by electrocution, but they can ruin the entire system inside your air conditioner. As mentioned above, get an air conditioner cover to install on both the indoor and outdoor units, and also clean up the AC well before using it.

The best way to prevent any damage to your air conditioner during the winters is to get it maintained or repaired before you turn it off for the next 3-4 months. You can also clean up the indoor and units thoroughly and then cover them up. Another tip is to turn your air conditioner on fan mode for at least an hour when you turn it back on, so that any dust or dirt in the vents can be removed before you set it to cool mode. By ensuring proper preventive maintenance of your air conditioner, you will be able to use it for a long time without having to repair or replace anything.