Proper Winter Air Conditioning Operation

acHere we are smack dab in the middle of winter! Brrrr, it’s been cold! I bet your windshield has been plenty fogged up in the morning, if not frosted over. Tip: Place a beach or bath towel over your windshield at night if you expect frost. In the morning, remove the towel, throw it in the car and you’re good to go!

Yes, the title of this article is correct. We also want to use our A/C in the winter as well. Using your A/C in the winter has several benefits:

  • Running your A/C year round keeps moving parts, o-rings and seal lubricated.
  • Using your A/C benefits in defrosting windows (an A/C system evaporates moisture which is what is fogging up your windows). Blowing hot air against it will eventually work; evaporating works much more quickly.
  • It eliminates standing water (condensation) in the evaporator. That old standing water is what causes that musty smell when you turn your A/C on that first hot day of summer.

When I advise people on using their A/C during the winter their first reaction is always… “I’ll freeze!” Don’t worry. You won’t freeze. Just follow these easy directions:

  1. Put your air mix (hot/cold) lever on HOT.
  2. Press the defrost or heat/defrost button (whichever you prefer).
  3. As far as the recirculation button being On or Off, that’s your personal preference. (REC “ON” keeps the current air in the car while REC “OFF” allows fresh air to enter from the outside.) We always recommend allowing fresh air in the vehicle so it doesn’t get stuffy.
  4. Then, push the A/C button to the ON position.

By following these simple steps, you’ll be amazed how much faster your windows defrost.

We advise customers to just push their A/C Button to the ON position and leave it there. Then, just adjust your comfort level with the air mix lever. This works whether it is summer or winter. Today’s A/C systems are so efficient there should be very little gas mileage change noticed. Driving with your window down actually uses more gas (due to wind resistance).

One final tip… always set your recirculation button ON (light on) before turning off your vehicle. This closes the door to the “fresh” air and prevents critters from moving in.

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