How to Protect Your Outside HVAC Unit During the Winter Season

The inevitable winter season is fast approaching; severe weather conditions can profoundly impact your outdoor HVAC unit. However, modern HVAC units are typically reliable and can withstand harsh climatic conditions because their exteriors consist of solid designs.

Weather is usually unpredictable, and a wide range of unforeseen factors, such as blockage, heavy winds, storms, and humidity can affect your outdoor HVAC system. Besides, such elements can also shift trees, power lines, and debris, which can cause potential damage to your outdoor HVAC unit.

Any damage to your HVAC system due to weather can cause long term effects, permanently affecting your HVAC’s efficiency. Thankfully, reputable companies like River Valley can help to repair affected HVAC systems, and we have put together some tips on how to protect your outside HVAC unit during the winter season.

How to Protect Your Outside HVAC During Winter

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Whether you have an ancient or a modern outdoor unit, these tips will ensure you protect your outdoor HVAC unit to avoid unnecessary breakdowns. Otherwise, it will be a nightmare if you suddenly wake up to a non-functioning HVAC unit during winter.

Here is how to protect your outside HVAC unit during winter.

1. Use an HVAC Unit Cover

Most HVAC companies across the globe recommend that using an HVAC cover unit should be a priority for everybody who owns an outdoor HVAC system.

The covers are critical to ensure your outdoor unit stays safe throughout the winter. In addition, they protect your unit’s coils from debris and dirt that may fall.

So, what happens when the debris or dirt gets trapped in your HVAC system’s coil?

Well, the debris can cause blockage of airflow. Over time, your unit could experience severe damage due to restricted airflow. The cover will also prevent water that can cause severe harm from dripping into your system.

It’s important to note that you avoid using plastic or commercially available covers made from materials. Your outdoor HVAC unit requires space to breathe, and the fabric that makes plastic is not breathable. If your unit is not breathing, it may overheat, resulting in costly repairs.

2. Keep the HVAC Unit Area Clean

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Though outdoor HVAC units can withstand harsh climatic conditions, cleaning them and their surroundings is paramount. However, cleaning your system is not necessarily to protect it against harsh winter but to make it last longer.

Keeping your unit away from debris and dust will save you from regular repair costs. So why don’t you set a few days of the year to clean your outdoor unit and its surroundings thoroughly?

3. Create an Air Conditioner Fence

A fence would be ideal for preventing people from stealing and animals from sheltering in your unit. However, keeping a distance of two feet around the unit for clearance while putting up a fence would be best. That will ensure that your outdoor HVAC system breaths and, at the same time, keep unsolicited critters away.

You can use vegetation or other materials that allow airflow to create your fence. However, ensure that you settle on a weather-resistant material. Depending on the type of fence, it can hide your system from thieves or add a sleeker look to your home.

Another important thing is to ensure that your fence allows accessibility. It should allow easy access when conducting regular maintenance on your system, so a hinged gate is ideal.

Though the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has put in place stern measures for the theft of HVAC systems, it is better to be safe than sorry.

4. Don’t Let Ice and Snow Build-up

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When your HVAC system starts to have ice or snow encapsulating it, it could freeze, leading to an emergency shutdown. If this unfortunate incident happens, you may have the worst winter as the system will not heat your home. Furthermore, the pipes may start freezing, resulting in plumbing problems that can cost you an arm and a leg to correct.

According to CDP, hanging icicles on any part of your home or over your outdoor HVAC system should get cleared. As a result, that will prevent damage to your unit.

Clear areas around your outdoor HVAC unit will prevent ice and snow building damage. When a large storm sweeps through your residence or if you anticipate inches of snow, clear approximately 18 inches around the system.

Besides, you can keep the sides and top of your HVAC system uncovered. Finally, do not use sharp objects when clearing ice or snow from the system to avoid damaging the fins and coils.

5. Do Not Block the Exhaust

When there is heavy snowfall, large snow units can block your furnace’s exhaust preventing your HVAC unit from functioning correctly.

Another fatal problem with the blocked exhaust is that the dangerous carbon monoxide may seep into your home, causing severe health problems for you and your loved ones.

The good news is that most furnace systems get manufactured with safety measures to curb any severe problem when the exhaust blocks.

6. Keep the Air Intake Vent Clear

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As much as you want exhaust fumes out of your home, you should also ensure that your home gets enough clean air. Unfortunately, it will be tough to get clean air if intake vents are blocked by snow, denying your system the much-needed perspective for combustion.

If your furnace is always getting problems while starting up, ensure the intake vent is free from any blockage. After clearing the vent, you can switch off the system, rest it for a few minutes, and switch it on again to reset the unit.

It is always good to remember that your furnace consists of materials that can withstand ice and snow, but it doesn’t mean that extreme weather conditions cannot damage it.

The U.S. Department of Energy depicts that taking proper care of your unit during winter is mandatory to prevent you from spending a fortune on maintenance and repair costs or paying hospital bills for your family. Unfortunately, as much as it looks like a simple task to protect your HVAC system from ice and snowfall, it can cost you a fortune.

Final Words

Taking proper care of the outdoor HVAC system during winter is not negotiable. However, to experience a comfy and breathtaking winter, you must maintain your outdoor HVAC system using the above guidelines. Besides, you won’t spend much on repairs and maintenance.

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