It's important to protect your HVAC system from Old Man Winter!
The most impending damage from snow and ice to your heating and air conditioning system is inefficient operation, but that's usually a sign that there are underlying problems as well. The main issue that arises is when snow and ice encase the unit and that triggers ann emergency shut-off as the system freezes up. This cuts off heat to your home, which could cause burst pipes that result in significant property damage as the temperature drops.
Physical damage can happen to the outside unit, even though the units are better built to withstand the year-round weather elements and exposure. However, ice and snow can still build up on the aluminum fan and coil fins and bend them. This will cause loud sounds while operating and will eventually burst the fins. The snow and ice also cause the components to work at least twice as hard with limited air-flow so your unit could end up short circuiting and burning out faster than expected.
What to do? You can protect the HVAC from snow and ice.
- Hopefully your HVAC outdoor unit does not sit directly on the ground but instead is far enough up from normal snowfall (6-10" minimum); this is standeard procedure for our HVAC installers.
- Build a wind barrier with either shrubs or fences and remember to keep them far enough for servicing and air flow.
- Keep the unit at least 18" away from the exterior wall to increase air passaage and to avoid drifting exposure.
- Snow buildup should be shoveled away, gutters should be inspected so they're not drippinng on the unit, and ice should be melted away with warm water avoiding ice picks and possible damage to the system. If temperatures are still freezing out, warm water is often not a good choice as it will merely refreezed. In this case, let the defrost cycle run its course once or twice (about an hour).
Is your HVAC in need of replacement? Give our HVAC division a call for a free consultation.