When the weather is winter, and you and your family are all busy building some snowmen or skiing on some ice, you will probably not realize that the winter weather is not doing your HVAC system any good.
The harsh winter weather can undoubtedly affect your air condition system if you do not take the proper measures to keep it sound and safe.
The air condition unit has a compressor in the outdoor unit, and you can find this compressor in all air condition units no matter how different they may have been built.
The compressor in the outdoor unit can get exposed to rough weather all the time.
Having ice on your air condition system in the winter is a problem that almost every air condition owner has to deal with every winter.
Given this, many air condition owners may think about covering up the air conditioner unit during the winter. However, should you be doing that? We will find out shortly in this article, so please keep reading on.
How Does The Winter Weather Affect Your HVAC System?
The ice and the snow can affect your air condition system in many ways.
If the outdoor unit of your air condition system is a heat pump, then it means that it is operated in both the summer and the winter.
You will have to be extra careful during the winter because the ice and snow can cause some effects on the smooth running of your air condition system.
This can happen even if you are not using the air condition system during the winter season. Even though you may not use the air condition system during the winter, the ice and snow can cause some damage to the compressor of the air condition system and affect its performance in the following season.
When there is a buildup of ice or snow on the outdoor unit of your air condition system, this can be highly problematic.
This is because when you switch on your air condition unit to start working, it generates heat, and this heat will end up melting the snow or ice on top of the outdoor unit.
However, when the outdoor unit freezes instead, it expands, ending up bending the coil fins in the unit.
These coil fins are pretty delicate, and once they get bent, they can block the airflow of the air condition system, causing it to perform below its expected ability.
Due to this, your air condition system will then have to start working much harder to cool your house effectively. This can result in you paying much higher electricity bills since your air condition unit uses much higher energy to operate.
Another problem that can be caused by ice and snow is rust and corrosion, and these are highly significant problems that you should be aware of.
Because your outdoor air condition unit is exposed to a lot of moisture for a long time, it eventually leads to the outdoor unit developing rust and corrosion on its components. And this will also affect the performance of the air condition system since rusted parts will indeed not be performing a hundred percent.
Poor Airflow Caused By Ice Buildup On HVAC Unit During The Winter
When there is a buildup of ice on the outdoor unit of your air condition system, it can lead to poor airflow from your air condition system.
The heat pumps inside the air condition system are used in warming your house during the winter season. Why extract hot air outside of the house and then send that air inside the house?
So if the outdoor unit of the heat pump has been blocked on all four sides, it will not be able to draw the hot air from the outside quickly as it should, which will affect its performance and functionality.
When there is reduced airflow, it can cause some long-term damage to your air condition unit, which may lead to some expensive repairs on your part.
I am sure you do not want to spend any huge sums of money on your air condition system at such a time when you should be using it to buy gifts and various presents for your cute little children after you close from work.
How To Protect Your Air Condition System From The Winter Damage
So now you know of the damages that you can wreak on your air condition system if left at the mercy of the winter season.
As I stated earlier, these damages can be serious ones that will require expensive repairs that will certainly put a dent in your pocket. As someone who will certainly not want to be spending such huge sums on repairs at such a time, you should be able to know how to take proper care of your air condition unit during the winter to avoid such expensive maintenance.
Below, we will take a look at some of the ways you can keep your air condition system safe during the winter season and prevent any unwanted damages to the system. Let us now take a look at these measures below.
Ensuring Defrost Cycle Is Working
You should make sure that the defrost cycle of your air condition system works perfectly.
This usually is when you use a heat pump since they come with a defrost cycle that prevents ice from building up on the outdoor unit.
When it is in defrost mode, the heat pump will temporarily work in reverse. This means that instead of the heat pump cooling the house as it should, it would now be cooling the outside.
This is done to cause the ice built on the outdoor unit and around it to melt away.
Some heat pumps do this automatically. However, if you see that there has been a buildup of ice on your outdoor air condition unit, then it could be possible that your heat pump is not defrosting, and you should check out what the problem may be.
Creating A Wind Barrier Around The Outdoor Air Condition Unit
You can also create a wind barrier around your air condition system’s outdoor unit, which is a great idea.
The wind barrier will block a lot of debris and precipitations to prevent them from clogging on your outdoor unit condenser. The wind barrier will also help reduce snow buildup on the outdoor air conditioner unit.
When you decide to build the wind barrier around the outdoor unit of your air condition system, you should make sure to leave some space between the outdoor unit and the wind barrier.
This is because if the wind barrier or fence is too close to the outdoor, it will instead block the outdoor unit’s airflow, resulting in the risk of the outdoor unit catching fire.
So always leave a considerable amount of space between the outdoor air condition unit and the wind barrier. If you do not know what a reasonable distance in between is, you can seek some advice from your local HVAC technicians to help you with that, or you can leave the whole wind barrier construction over to them.
Another advantage of building a wind barrier around the outdoor unit of your air condition system is that it reduces the noise made by the air condition system to get some good sleep at night as there will be much less noise to disturb your sleep.
Shovel Away Snow From The Outdoor Unit
Most of the time, when there is a buildup of ice on the outdoor unit of your air condition system, it could be due to inadequate maintenance and not the weather that is at fault.
Maybe your gardener has been neglecting his duties and leaving snow around the HVAC system, or your husband has been a bit lazy recently.
Well, you would be doing more harm than good to your HVAC system with that shoddy maintenance attitude, and it is your pocket that will bear the brunt of it later on when you have to call the technicians because of the air condition system refuses to work.
Always make sure to shovel away snow from the HVAC system after each heavy snowfall. The longer you allow the snow to sit on and around the HVAC, the greater the chance of it causing some damage to it.
The most common of it is the snow blocking the airflow of the outdoor air condition unit, which will undoubtedly lead to other problems.
So always make sure to shovel the snow away from the HVAC system. It does not always have to be when there is a heavy snowfall alone. Once you see there is snow around it, get right to work.
Replace The Filters Often
Whether you are using a heat pump or a furnace, you should always change the filters in the air condition system regularly.
When the filters become dirty, they hamper the airflow of the air condition system, which will lead to the air condition system not being able to perform at total capacity.
This can even be a bigger problem during the winter season since the dirty filters will cause the air conditioner to perform below par, thereby not warming your house as it should.
You will also not heat the pumps to run the defrost cycle as it should, which will lead to more ice outside the outdoor unit of the air condition system.
If you are always too lazy to clean and replace the filters, you can get yourself an intelligent AC controller like the Cielo Breez Eco or the Cielo Breez Plus.
The same company makes these, as you can tell from their name. These gadgets keep track of the air conditioner’s filter cleanliness, and you can set reminders that will alert you when you need to change the filter.
The gadgets can also send you notifications when you need to change the filter earlier than usual due to increased dirt inside it.
Drain Line And Gutters
Always make sure to inspect the drain line and gutters to ensure there is no ice buildup in there.
When there is ice blocking the drainage, there will be water inside the HVAC system, and this will undoubtedly cause some damage to the walls and even be a ground for the growth of black mould.
You Should install the HVAC System In A Proper Way
You should check to make sure that your HVAC system is installed correctly. This is essential, especially when you live in an area where snowfall is frequent.
The outdoors should be at least 6 inches above ground level not to get buried in snow when heavy snowfall occurs at night.
Clearing Furnace Exhaust
You always clear the furnace exhaust so that nothing is blocking it. When there is too much snow there, it could stop it, leading to carbon monoxide poisoning.
Always make sure to shovel the snow around the furnace’s exhaust to prevent this from happening.
Calling The Technician
Never delay in calling the HVAC technician when you cannot diagnose a problem with your HVAC system (Something you should not try to do in the first place).
You should also call them for regular maintenance to ensure that your HVAC system is working smoothly all year round.
This will help diagnose any problem quickly and save you from spending huge on repairs.
So now you know how to take good care of the outdoor unit of your HVAC system during this winter season.
Applying the things in this article will help you have a fully functional HVAC system while enjoying your holidays and vacations in peace.