Will Running Your AC in Winter Damage It?

Thermostat with a hand pressing the temperature and a background of winter vs. summer

As winter sets in, many homeowners in warm climates may wonder if running their air conditioner is safe. In places like Florida, it’s common to use AC units all year because the weather is mild. But it’s important to know the risks and implications of running your AC in the winter to make informed decisions about your home’s heating and cooling needs.


Should I Turn Off My AC During Winter?

Especially with traditional AC units that aren’t reversible heat pumps, turning off the AC during winter is advisable. This is due to potential risks of damage in colder climates. However, in warmer climates like Florida, where temperatures rarely drop too low, using your AC year-round is generally safe.

Here are the weather thresholds for different types of ACs:

  • Traditional AC units: If you live in a milder climate, you might not need to turn off your AC during winter. But you shouldn’t run your AC if the temperature is below 60 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Heat pumps: Modern heat pumps are effective at around 25 to 30 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Ductless mini-splits: Avoid using the cooling function when temperatures fall below 60 degrees Fahrenheit.

It’s best to refer to your AC’s manual for your model’s temperature thresholds.

The Risks of Running Your AC in Winter

Running your air conditioner during the winter doesn’t typically cause damage to ACs in areas with milder winters. However, operating an AC in low temperatures can pose several risks to your system.

Some risks to your AC can include:

  • Condenser coils may freeze
  • Significant reduction in efficiency with an increase in energy consumption
  • Faster wear and tear to your unit
  • Refrigerant levels can fluctuate, causing damage to your compressor
  • Uneven heating and cooling in your home
  • Condensation and water damage

How To Prepare Your AC for Winter

As the cooler months approach, preparing your air conditioning system for winter is essential to ensure its longevity and efficiency. Proper winterization of your AC can prevent damage and save on costly repairs.

Here’s a simple guide on how to get your AC system winter-ready:

  • Clean or replace the filters.
  • Inspect and clean the condenser coils to remove any debris.
  • Check your thermostat and set it to a lower temperature if you won’t be using your AC.
  • Check the insulation on your refrigerant lines and make sure openings are sealed.
  • Cover your outdoor unit with a breathable, waterproof cover.
  • Remove any debris, leaves, or branches around the outdoor unit.
  • Consider having a professional HVAC technician inspect your system to ensure it’s in top condition for the next use.


Schedule HVAC Services in West Palm Beach

Hopkins Air Conditioning is your go-to HVAC provider in Palm Beach County, from emergency AC repair or replacement to new unit installation and maintenance. We’ll prepare your AC and heater for winter, protecting one while prepping the other.

We’ve cared for our community for over 30 years and are proud to be family-owned and -operated.

Our team is highly trained, licensed, and insured. We offer custom HVAC solutions that fit your exact needs, same-day service, and free estimates on replacement quotes.

Contact Hopkins Air Conditioning today at (561) 656-4870 to schedule AC service in West Palm Beach.

company icon