We all know that a lot of devices will start to develop problems if they haven’t been used in a while—from a vehicle to a lawnmower sitting in a garage. But what about AC? Does anything bad happen if your air conditioner isn’t used for 3-4 months or longer?
It turns out, the answer is mostly good news—with a few precautions you need to take.
Most Air Conditioners Are Fine for 3-4 Months
In general, today’s air conditioners are made to last. Many are meant to run for decades, and are expected to run daily for months at a time. As long as your air conditioner is in good working condition overall—and gets the maintenance it needs—it’s unlikely to suffer any problems if it’s off for just a few months.
In fact, this is a normal operating expectation for air conditioners—almost no one needs AC year round. Even in Nevada and Arizona we have about three months where we don’t need it, and many regions have a much longer winter.
However, there are still a few things you should know if you’re about to turn your AC off for the season—or if you’re about to start it up for the first time.
Precautions to Take Before and After Your AC Sits Unused
One of the only problems that does affect unused AC is a buildup of dust in the system, or accumulation of debris outside.
If you’re about turn it on after it’s been unused for a few months, here’s what to do first:
- Walk outside and look at the compressor unit (the big outside unit). Is there any buildup of debris around it? Any weeds growing onto it? Or any other sign that something could be blocking it? Remove the debris before proceeding. (Do not open up the unit.)
- Are you up to date on maintenance? Air conditioners should get a maintenance call at least once a year, twice a year in extreme environments like Nevada/Arizona. If you didn’t do maintenance last season, get it done before you start it up. We can help.
- Run the AC in fan mode first. Turn on just the fan mode on your thermostat and let it blow for a solid 10 minutes. This will help get any dust out of the system before you turn it on Cool.
At the end of the season, if you’re about to turn it off for a few months, you should also take a couple steps:
- Run it on fan only for 60 minutes to clear out the system
- This is also a good time to catch up on maintenance
Under normal circumstances, this is all you need to do and the AC can sit unused. But that may not be true if it needs repair.
If Your AC Had a Problem Before You Turned It Off, It May Be Worse After 3-4 Months
Unfortunately, air conditioners don’t perform any better after sitting unused than they did beforehand—and if there’s a major issue, it may have gotten worse. For example:
- If there was a refrigerant leak before, it may have gone from “low” to “empty” after 3 months
- Performance issues related to an uncleaned/unmaintained AC unit will get worse with time
- If AC was turning on, but struggling to perform for any reason (blows warm air, turns off too often, etc.), that problem is likely to be more severe now
If you’re experiencing any of these problems, your best bet is to get proper AC servicing in the off season before you turn back on for the summer. You don’t want to experience a sudden failure of AC—which is both inconvenient, and often much more expensive than the initial fix.
We Fix Air Conditioners—and We Do It Right
Ambient Edge offers comprehensive AC maintenance and repair. We’re available 24/7, we show up when we say we will, and we give flat-rate estimates for every job. Let us help you get your AC in tip-top shape for the next season. Every job is backed with a 100% guarantee. Call us at 702-723-4704 or fill out the form to your right and speak with an AC pro today.