You don't need to use your air conditioning unit during the winter months. The best way to protect your air conditioning unit is to shut it down until you need to use it again next spring.
#1 Clean The Area Around Your Unit
The first thing you need to do is clean the area around your unit. Cut away any brush or trees whose limbs are infringing upon the area where your air conditioning unit is located. Cut the grass around the unit, and rake up any leaves or debris that is around it.
You don't want snow or ice to accumulate on any bushes or branches near your unit and fall onto it during the winter; this could cause damage to your unit.
#2 Turn Off Your Circuit Breaker
The second thing you need to do is turn off the power to your air conditioning unit. You'll want to do this before you do any direct work on your unit itself. Go to your circuit breaker and turn the breaker that is connected to your air conditioning unit to the off position.
Then, disconnect the plug that is attached to your air conditioning unit. You don't want electricity running through your unit when it is not in use.
#3 Wipe Down The Unit Itself
The third thing you need to do is clean the outside of the air conditioning unit. Use a clean cloth to wipe down the unit and remove any dirt from it. Then, pull out any twigs or leaves that have gotten caught in the grill of the unit. Any debris could attract pests to your unit during the winter months.
#4 Put A Cover Over The Unit
The fourth thing you need to do is put a canvas cover over your air conditioning unit. Canvas covers are the best option for your air conditioning unit because they tend to be really heavy duty, resistant to heat and is a very strong material. A canvas cover is strong enough to keep your unit safe without you having to check it for rips throughout the winter months.
#5 Place Some Wood On Top
Finally, put a piece of thick wood on top of the condenser. This will protect it from falling icicles during the winter months.
If you take all of the steps above, your air conditioning unit should be able to easily weather out the winter months without becoming damaged or compromised in any way. Contact a contractor, like American Heating & Air, for more help.