Best Way to Store an Air Conditioner
Summer is over, winter is upon us, and the weather is rapidly cooling down. For people living in the Pacific Northwest, the transition into the coldest part of the year means putting away the shorts and bathing suits and breaking out the sweaters, parkas and wool socks. It also means that your air conditioning unit won’t get any use for a long while, sometimes up to eight months. This means you will need to store it properly until the weather heats up again.
While some homeowners leave their air conditioning units up even when not in use, it’s much more advisable to find a safe place to put it until it’s needed again. If an air conditioning unit isn’t properly stored, it can become damaged, forcing you to pay for expensive repairs or even buy a replacement. This article will advise you on the best way to store an air conditioner:
Removing the Air Conditioner
Many air conditioning window units are large and unwieldy; you shouldn’t try to move these on your own. Unplug the unit first, and then get help taking it down from the window to avoid injuring yourself or damaging your air conditioner.
When you remove the air conditioner from the window, water that has accumulated over the summer months may spill out. To prevent this from soaking your floor, place a large towel underneath the unit before you move it.
After removing the unit, you can set it on the towel before you clean and pack it up. When the unit has been removed, it may leave a gap in the window where it used to be, so you may need to place some weather stripping to prevent cold air from leaking into your home.
Cleaning the Air Conditioner
Before you put your air conditioner into storage, make sure it’s nice and clean first. Start the cleaning process by removing the filter. A relatively new filter can be cleaned with warm soapy water and allowed to air dry. If your filter is worn out, however, you’ll need to replace it.
You can tell a filter is past its useful life if you can’t see through it at all. Next, vacuum the air conditioning unit both on the outside and inside to remove any dust buildup. Scrub everywhere to get as much of the dirt and debris out as you can. Finally, wipe down the outside of the unit using a mixture of vinegar and water. Once your air conditioner is clean and dry, you can pack it away.
Packing it up
The best way to store an air conditioner is in its original box. If you buy a new unit, save that box! If you didn’t save it, you’ll have to find a new box of similar size. Either way, make sure that your air conditioner is completely dry before storing, otherwise you will invite the growth of mold and mildew.
When you pack the unit, cover it as best you can using a thermal storage blanket or some foam packing material. The goal is keep dust, dirt, water or any other contaminants out of the air conditioner while it’s in storage. Make sure you mark the box so that you can store the air conditioning unit right side up. If you store the unit upside down or sideways, you can cause the oil in the compressor to spread out unevenly, potentially damaging the compressor.
Where to Store the Unit
After you’ve packed the whole thing up, you will need to find a place to store it. Pick a spot that will be safe from extreme temperatures throughout the year. It’s best not to store your air conditioner in an outdoor garage or anywhere else that might be subject to freezing temperatures. Outdoor storage areas can also be vulnerable to pests such as rodents and insects, which can chew through the box and get dirt, bacteria and feces inside of the air conditioning unit.
Try to avoid areas that can get wet, too. If moisture soaks through the box and gets into the unit it can cause mildew and mold to grow and force you to start the cleaning process all over again. Direct sunlight can also damage your air conditioner, so find an area that is clean, dry and protected from the elements.
Getting a New Air Conditioner
If storing your portable air conditioner every year proves to be impractical, consider having a central air conditioning unit installed. This may be your best choice if you are trying to reduce your electric bill.
Modern central air conditioning units are quieter and more energy efficient than ever before. You can contact a local HVAC contractor – in the Portland and Vancouver area, Entek Corporation is a perfect choice – and have them provide a recommendation on the best air conditioning unit for your home or business. They will also professionally install it so that you no longer have to worry about storing your air conditioning unit every year.