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What Happens If an Air Conditioner Isn’t Used for Months?

The Kansas City climate likes its seasons. With snow in the winter and temperatures that can hit 100°F in the summer, living here definitely prepares us for extreme weather and everything in between. Luckily, most residents of the Kansas City metro and surrounding areas can get away with only using your air conditioner during the hottest months of the year. During a comfortable Spring or Autumn and certainly, during the winter, our AC is often switched off for months at a time. When Summer rolls around, you might be ready to switch on your AC again, but suddenly you feel a pit in your stomach, and you think, “The AC hasn’t been on for eight months or more… what if it doesn’t work?”

Usually, there’s nothing to worry about. Most home air conditioners are durable and perfectly safe to turn off and on, even after months of nonuse. However, suppose you want the best air conditioner performance, energy efficiency, and lifespan. In that case, regular maintenance and a little seasonal TLC will have a significant benefit and might make the difference between a working or a broken AC unit. So here are the steps to follow when using an air conditioner after months of not being used.

What Happens when your Air Conditioner is Not Used for a Few Months?

Most air conditioners are made to function well throughout the seasons, even when not in use for many months. However, AC units should be clean and checked before you turn the air conditioner back on after a few months of nonuse due to several possible factors that might affect the quality of air circulated through your system. These are:

  • Dust accumulation in the system
  • Preexisting problems that might have worsened, e.g., rusting parts or coolant leaks.
  • The buildup of debris and other natural waste in the outdoor unit
  • “Stale” home air due to lack of circulation

Even if an AC unit is maintained well mechanically, the above factors can lead to poorer functioning in the long run. If your air isn’t run through the winter or if you have no filter, there are many reasons you might have lower quality air and potentially create clogging in your AC unit. This possibility, along with an undetected maintenance problem like a coolant leak or developing rust in your AC unit, means that there are fundamental problems to catch that might have worsened over the winter. This is why it’s a good idea to get your entire AC system inspected before you turn it back on, but there are also a few AC maintenance tasks that anyone can do.

How to Keep Your Air Conditioner in Good Condition During Off-Season

During the cool months when your air conditioner is switched off, you can keep it in excellent working order with just a few maintenance tips.

  • Have your AC inspected by a professional before your turn it off for the fall/winter each year
  • Run the fan periodically throughout the winter to help clear your unit of stale air
  • Dust your vents and air-intake vent
  • Change your air filter on a schedule
  • Keep up with your usual HVAC maintenance routine

If you switch your AC off during the cool months, running the fan is a great way to ensure your system stays healthy and has the added bonus of cycling air through your home and the air filter to remove indoor dust or allergens.

Another good practice to support your system is to keep dusting the AC vents near your ceiling and wipe down the air intake vent near the AC unit throughout the year. If you’re able to dust your vents, change your air filters regularly, run your home fan, and perform regular inspections, you’re setting yourself up to maintain a good air quality level in your home, no matter what season.  

What to Do Before Turning On Your Air Conditioning for the First Time in Months

If your AC has been dormant and unused for months, a few careful first steps can ensure your AC unit is ready to go and will perform optimally all summer long.

  • Go outdoors and clear debris away from the AC’s compressor unit, including leaves, twigs, and undergrowth.
  • Have your AC unit inspected early in the spring/summer season
  • Run your AC on fan-only for a few hours early in the season
  • Take care of any necessary AC repairs early.

Waking up your air conditioner after the long winter sleep is a routine everyone hopes will go well. Set yourself up for success by cleaning and clearing your outdoor compressor unit, ensuring you clear away any debris, and re-straighten the fins. Once you turn on the fan, you can listen to ensure the ventilation and blower fan system are working well. After you’ve booked your pre-season inspection, you should be good to go. 

With an AC inspection, any lingering repairs can be taken care of early, before the dangerously high summer temperatures hit the house – that way, you can keep your cooling systems healthy, your costs low, and ultimately, your family safe. 

What If the Air Conditioner Had a Problem Before It Was Shut Off?

Existing problems might reveal themselves during summer, but sometimes that’s not the case. If your AC unit was struggling or had an invisible problem during use, such as rust or leaking, it may have worsened during the cold winter months. That’s why it’s essential to call an expert AC technician to inspect and conduct repairs as you turn your unit off for fall and before your turn it on for the spring/summer.

Trust the AC Specialists at Cates Heating & Cooling

When you are preparing to turn your AC unit on/off for the first time in months, Cates Heating & Cooling and our team full of trained HVAC specialists are ready to conduct inspections, maintenance, and all the care you need for optimal heating and cooling in your home. With a regular AC maintenance schedule, you can calm the fear of having to replace an expensive broken AC unit. We’ll be there to guide you through seasonal changes and proper maintenance procedures season after season. 

When thinking about maintaining and keeping a reliable AC system, it’s vital to have professional servicing. That way, you can rest assured that your home is taken care of, and you won’t have to pay out for a completely new HVAC/AC system in case of an emergency. Enjoy monthly HVAC care and attentive service from Cates when you chat to us about a maintenance program or a complete protection package.

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