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#2383875 - 09/21/11 02:00 PM Turn off power to central A/C for winter?
Quattro Pete Offline


Registered: 10/30/02
Posts: 25944
Loc: Michigan
I get these occasional home reminder/advice tips from Manage My Life. Half of the time it doesn't make any sense to me. Today they recommend turning off power to central A/C for winter:

http://www.managemylife.com/mmh/articles/authored/off-the-power-to-your-ac

It says:
Quote:

Do one of the following:

- On your main electrical panel, locate the fuse or breaker marked "air conditioner." Remove the fuse or flip the breaker to Off.
- Flip the handle on the outdoor shutoff near the compressor to the Off position.


In my house, the A/C and heater is part of the same system and therefore I don't have a separate circuit breaker just for A/C. There is also no handle of any sort to be found on the outdoor units.

I've been in this house over 2 years now and never did anything to the heat/AC units apart from flipping the thermostats from COOL to HEAT and back and replacing air and humidifier filters. Is there something I need to be doing in addition to this?

Thanks.
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#2383887 - 09/21/11 02:09 PM Re: Turn off power to central A/C for winter? [Re: Quattro Pete]
Al Offline


Registered: 06/08/02
Posts: 13581
Loc: Elizabethtown, Pa
While it might make sense to turn it off bc of say a lightening strike. Probably almost no-one turns if off.
Note..just an uneducated opinion.

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#2383893 - 09/21/11 02:14 PM Re: Turn off power to central A/C for winter? [Re: Quattro Pete]
brandini Offline


Registered: 10/08/09
Posts: 1007
Loc: Richmond, VA
It may save a few cents, or the equipment from an electrical storm during non-use. Though we always get a few freak days that make the inside humid so it's nice to have ac to dry the air.
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#2383911 - 09/21/11 02:30 PM Re: Turn off power to central A/C for winter? [Re: brandini]
hemitom Offline


Registered: 03/12/07
Posts: 744
Loc: canada
Some central air units come with a heater built into the compressor to keep the oil warm in low temp usage. These do consume a fair amount of electricity over time.


Edited by hemitom (09/21/11 02:31 PM)
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#2383935 - 09/21/11 02:49 PM Re: Turn off power to central A/C for winter? [Re: Quattro Pete]
Schmoe Offline


Registered: 05/12/03
Posts: 6416
Loc: Oklahoma
Hmmmmmm, never even thought of that. We get occassional thunder snow and ice, even here. With that question, I wonder if the AC unit even "pulls" a little juice when it's still connected.
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#2383936 - 09/21/11 02:52 PM Re: Turn off power to central A/C for winter? [Re: Quattro Pete]
Greggy_D Offline


Registered: 03/03/05
Posts: 1533
Loc: Near Ann Arbor, Michigan
Yep....I flip over my outdoor fuse to OFF every Oct.
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#2383937 - 09/21/11 02:53 PM Re: Turn off power to central A/C for winter? [Re: Greggy_D]
Quattro Pete Offline


Registered: 10/30/02
Posts: 25944
Loc: Michigan
Originally Posted By: Greggy_D
Yep....I flip over my outdoor fuse to OFF every Oct.

That's the thing. I don't see any such switch/fuse anywhere.
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#2383947 - 09/21/11 03:01 PM Re: Turn off power to central A/C for winter? [Re: Quattro Pete]
Jeepster_nut Offline


Registered: 04/20/05
Posts: 980
Loc: East Coast
There should be an outdoor disconnect near the compressor. Look for a grey metal box. It isn't a fuse, rather a disconnect device that you pull out and flip over, then re-insert. The disconnect doesn't have an amperage rating so it shouldn't be called a fuse.

My Trane XL-14i outdoor compressor has an onboard warmer (or so says the literature than came with it). It states that if the power is disconnected over the winter, that in the spring I should apply power and give it a 24 hour period to warm the refrigerant/oil.

I just shut the breaker off inside over the winter months and don't mess with the disconnect, only when I am doing the spring checkup do I open the disconnect box and pull the plug out and check for cobwebs.
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#2383954 - 09/21/11 03:05 PM Re: Turn off power to central A/C for winter? [Re: Quattro Pete]
Jim 5 Offline


Registered: 05/25/05
Posts: 4009
Loc: Calgary Canada
I was told that you can damage it if you switch it on under around 70 degrees. A good reason to disconnect the AC unit would be to prevent inadvertant damage over the cold months if someone decided to turn it on for some reason.
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#2383971 - 09/21/11 03:20 PM Re: Turn off power to central A/C for winter? [Re: hemitom]
Bluestream Offline


Registered: 09/13/03
Posts: 3953
Loc: Waterloo, ON
Originally Posted By: hemitom
Some central air units come with a heater built into the compressor to keep the oil warm in low temp usage. These do consume a fair amount of electricity over time.


exactly... happy
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#2383972 - 09/21/11 03:21 PM Re: Turn off power to central A/C for winter? [Re: Jim 5]
KrisZ Offline


Registered: 12/23/06
Posts: 4267
Loc: Toronto, Canada
Originally Posted By: Jim 5
I was told that you can damage it if you switch it on under around 70 degrees. A good reason to disconnect the AC unit would be to prevent inadvertant damage over the cold months if someone decided to turn it on for some reason.


BINGO!!!

That's the main concern, plus as other mentioned, some units have oil warmers and they will consume some electricity even when not used.
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#2383977 - 09/21/11 03:26 PM Re: Turn off power to central A/C for winter? [Re: Quattro Pete]
Quattro Pete Offline


Registered: 10/30/02
Posts: 25944
Loc: Michigan
OK, I think I've found it. Didn't initially notice there was an ON/OFF position on it. Is this it?


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#2383991 - 09/21/11 03:42 PM Re: Turn off power to central A/C for winter? [Re: Quattro Pete]
Schmoe Offline


Registered: 05/12/03
Posts: 6416
Loc: Oklahoma
Haven't seen that kind before. Definently has 240 going into it, the black and the red lines, and 240 going out. There's no actual switch on that unit. Looks like I can see "on" on the bottom right of that red box, but don't get me to lying here. I say it's a fuse because you probably got the 240 lines coming from your circuit breaker from inside the house. I'd trip that breaker before even touching that thing.
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#2383995 - 09/21/11 03:46 PM Re: Turn off power to central A/C for winter? [Re: Schmoe]
Quattro Pete Offline


Registered: 10/30/02
Posts: 25944
Loc: Michigan
Originally Posted By: Schmoe
Looks like I can see "on" on the bottom right of that red box, but don't get me to lying here.

Yup. The red piece with the handle pulls out. It has 4 metal tabs on the back end. When I flip it 180 degrees, it'll be in OFF position - the tabs will be in different places.

So, is the consensus to switch it off for winter?
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#2384000 - 09/21/11 03:50 PM Re: Turn off power to central A/C for winter? [Re: Quattro Pete]
Schmoe Offline


Registered: 05/12/03
Posts: 6416
Loc: Oklahoma
You got enough wire to rotate it 180 degrees from current position? But yeah, turn it off for the winter. You just never know when someone might "accidentally" turn it on during the dead of winter and then you worry all the way up to spring. That's what I'm going to do when winter finally nails us, which is usually right after Halloween.
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