As the temperatures begin to drop and summer turns to fall, you may be thinking it’s time to turn off the air conditioning for the season. It’s not as simple as flipping a switch, so AQM has compiled a guide.

When you’re ready to open the windows and enjoy the cool fall air, follow these steps for properly shutting down your A/C unit.

Turn Off the Air Conditioning Unit

To shut down the cooling system on your HVAC unit, the first step is to turn it off from the thermostat. Next, you will have to go outside and find the circuit box near the air conditioning condenser. The electrical box is usually located on the side of the house behind or next to the condenser. Switch the power to the external unit to the “off” position.

Change the HVAC Filter

Your air conditioning system worked hard here all through the Pennsylvania summer. The HVAC system uses the same filter for cooling and heating operations so it’s important to change it regularly throughout the year. Our technicians recommend that you replace the filter at least seasonally, and as often as every 30 days for those with allergy and dust sensitivities. If you have already changed it recently, use this opportunity to check it again for signs of dirt and buildup.

Allow Fresh Air to Circulate

Take full advantage of the cooler fall temperatures. Use this season to save on energy bills by leaving your HVAC unit off whenever possible. Open the windows and sliding doors to facilitate air flow throughout each room. Most people don’t realize that the air inside accumulates impurities and can actually be significantly more polluted than the air outside. Before it’s time to close up for the winter, fall is a great time to improve the air quality in the house.

Clean the A/C Condenser Unit

With a broom, you can first brush off the leaves and debris that has collected on the outside unit over the summer. Then, rinse the unit down thoroughly with a hose. This will help remove any dirt and grime that has settled in hard-to-reach areas: inside the grill, in the air intake components, and on the fan blade. Then, give the external unit plenty of time to dry. Fall is also a good time to trim back any bushes or plants that have grown close to the air conditioning unit.

Inspect the Cooling Unit

While you are cleaning up the unit outside, take a look at the condition of the condenser. Verify that there is no visible damage to it, new cracks or areas of corrosion. Check the seals to ensure they are tight. If you notice anything that looks irregular, make sure to point it out to your HVAC technician at the next service appointment.

Cover the Unit for the Winter

Under normal seasonal weather conditions, we don’t recommend covering the outdoor unit for the winter. Sometimes a cover can actually trap extra moisture inside and cause more damage than it prevents in the long run.

If you prefer to keep the cooling unit under wraps, you can find insulated covers made specifically for this purpose at your local hardware store. It’s also fine to simply use a waterproof plastic of vinyl tarp secured with elastic cords.

We do advise our customers to cover the exposed pipes and wiring running from the air conditioner. Use foam pipe covers cut to size and secure them in place with electrical tape. This can help insulate the pipes and help prevent freezing and cracking in the cold winter months.

Related article:Seasonal Home Maintenance Tips for the Fall.

Schedule Regular HVAC Servicing

Seasonal maintenance will help keep the air conditioning system in good working order. Smart homeowners go through these steps to ensure that it fires up without a problem next spring when the heat inevitably returns.

After you have turned off the air conditioning for the summer season, it’s time to think ahead to the winter. It’s closer than you think! Because this can be a busy time for HVAC technicians, it’s best to beat the rush and schedule your regular furnace tuneup now.

Call AQM today at (610) 363-3940 or request an estimate online for a furnace checkup before winter comes. We will ensure that your heating system is running as efficiently as possible and that it’s ready to be turned on when the temperatures drop.

AQM, Inc.