Is it a good idea to run your air conditioner in the wintertime? Great question!
Yes it is!
Running the air conditioner during this season is not only normal but essential for maintaining comfortable temperatures inside the house. This system is likely a heat pump too. This means that it can produce heat in order to keep your house warm when it is too cold. It accomplishes this by reversing the direction of Freon flow using valves that are electrically operated. By doing so the inside evaporator of the air conditioner gets hot instead of cold while the outside condenser gets cold instead of hot whenever the thermostat is set to heat.
During winter, you may experience a lot of humidity that collects on your windows and doors. Running the air conditioner will help to dehumidify the air in your house and keep the windows and doors crystal clear. Running your air conditioner also makes sure that it is in good working condition and not backed up by snow and ice. Another thing you can do to make sure that the air conditioner’s fan is not backed up by snow is to put a cover on it.
Another reason why running the air conditioner in the wintertime is a good thing is that it keeps its oil circulating in order to prevent a dry start when summertime comes. This will prevent your system from working properly when you need it most. How terrible that would be! If you live in an area that experiences moderate climate, you can opt to use a heat pump instead of an air conditioner if you want to save some money. Just make sure to research which type of heat pump is right for your home since some of them are limited by the cold. Installing the wrong one may raise the utility bills even more that you already pay. Oh, how terrible that would be!
Many air conditioners are equipped with low ambient controls that prevent operation in low temperatures. This allows it to artificially keep the pressure up, by backing up the refrigerant flow in the condenser, or slowing down and cycling the condenser fan. When this is done you can be assured there will be no harm in running it in wintertime as long as it is equipped to do so. Most manufacturers usually consider the possibility of running this system during the cold season, and as a result they incorporate crankcase heaters that prevent oil migration thus making the air conditioner ideal to use in winter. How grand!
In terms of the harm that can be caused to the air conditioner if you run it during wintertime, the compressor may overheat since the oil is usually too thick to circulate in cold temperatures. This may cause the unit to fail. If possible, simply open your windows to allow air from outside to cool down your home during the cold months. By doing so, you will also be saving energy, and as a result you will spend less on utility bills.
Need advice on how to maintain your air conditioning unit, or which one to purchase for your home? Cascade Mechanical is here to help!