What Happens if You Don't Use Your HVAC For a Few Months?

Discover what happens if you don't use your HVAC system for a few months. Learn about the effects on HVAC performance and AC performance. Visit Sandium for insights now!

Updated on Oct 22, 2023
5 min read
What Happens if You Don't Use Your HVAC For a Few Months?

Most electrical appliances develop issues if they haven’t been used in a while. This includes everything from a lawnmower to a car. But, what about an air conditioner? The good news is that your system will probably be in working condition even if you don’t use it for 3 to 4 Bay Area months. Based on this, you need to make sure it is well-installed and there were no problems when you turned it off.

Precautions Before Running an AC After It Sits Unused

The only problem that affects an air conditioner is a buildup of dust particles within the system and debris on the outside. You should consider these precautionary steps to ensure your system runs smoothly:

1. Check the compressor unit

Go outside and take a look at the exterior unit. Clean the debris from the unit and remove any foliage, bird’s nest, or squirrel’s nest. You don’t need to open the unit for this. You should call a professional AC technician if you want the internal components checked.

2. Keep up with maintenance

You should have a professional maintain your air conditioning unit at least twice a year, even if it is not being used. Get the maintenance done if you skipped it before turning the unit off. You can also sign up for an air conditioning maintenance plan.

3. Run the air conditioner in fan mode

Switch the thermostat to fan mode before turning it to cool. You should let air blow for at least 10 minutes. This is to clear out any dust or debris in the system. Dust can make it difficult for the air conditioner to circulate air.

4. Clean air filters

Depending on the model, you should clean or replace the air filters in your AC unit. You may experience problems with the AC if you let the filters get dirty. Dust buildup in the filters can prevent proper air flow and may affect the compressor or fan.

5. Check for refrigerant leaks

The performance of your air conditioner can severely get affected by refrigerant leaks. These can occur in different places, such as the evaporator and compressor coils. These leaks can get worse and should be repaired as soon as possible.

Fix Your Air Conditioner Before Turning It Off

Your air conditioner may not work as it should if there were some issues when you turned it off. Air conditioner performance actually gets worse if it sits unused. As per the US Department of Energy, inadequate maintenance, faulty installation, and poor service procedures are common problems with air conditioning units.

Significant air conditioning issues may actually get worse by shutting down a unit. This includes:

  • Not fixing a refrigerant leak before shutting down the system may cause the refrigerant levels to become low or empty after 3 to 4 months.
  • Performance issues because of corroded wire terminals or uncleaned coils will only get worse with time.
  • An AC that struggles to perform may have a duct leak, sensor issue or something else. This will only get more severe with time.

It’s recommended that you get an air conditioning technician take a look at the issues during off-season. These issues should be addressed before you turn on the AC. 

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