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How to Protect Your HVAC System from Snow and Ice


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How to Protect Your HVAC System from Snow and Ice

Your outdoor heating and cooling units are made to take a beating, but that does not mean that the elements cannot cause some serious damage.  Snow and ice are particularly brutal on HVAC systems.

Whether it is getting snow off the roof or clearing vents that can block your system from working properly, homeowners need to be aware of the dangers and how to avoid trouble this winter.  Below are a few tips for protecting your HVAC system from snow and ice.

Don’t Let Snow and Ice Build Up

The best way to prevent damage from snow and ice build-up is to keep the space around your unit clear. After a large snowstorm, or if you are expecting feet of snow, you can clear a space that is at least 18 inches all around the unit. Also, keep the top and sides of the unit uncovered. When removing ice from the unit, avoid using sharp objects as not to damage the coils and fins. These fins need to be clear of debris, snow, and ice and undamaged in order to work. The fins are how the condenser transfers heat, so it is important to treat them with care.

When snow or ice starts to encapsulate your HVAC unit, your system could freeze or emergency shutdown. If this occurs, then your home will no longer receive heat, and the pipes in your home might start to freeze as well, causing plumbing problems.

Clear hanging icicles off any part of your home that hangs over the HVAC unit to prevent damage to the unit that could end up being very expensive.

Keep the Exhaust Clear

Large piles of snow can block the exhaust of your furnace and prevent the unit from working. Another big problem with a blocked exhaust is that carbon monoxide might start seeping into your home, which can cause serious health problems for your family. Most furnace systems have safety measures in place in case the exhaust becomes blocked, but it is always better to be as safe as possible.

Keep Air Intake Vent Clear

Just like you want to let exhaust fumes out, you want to make sure that new air can be brought into your home. If snow is blocking your intake vents, your system will be starved for the air it needs for combustion.

If you notice that your furnace is always trying to start up but is not turning on, you might want to go outside to make sure that your intake vent is clear. Then you can turn the system off, give it a minute, and turn it back on to reset the unit.

Keep in mind that your HVAC unit is made to withstand snow and ice, but that does not mean that the unit won’t be damaged to do extreme weather and lack proper care during the harsh winter months.

Protecting your HVAC system from snow and ice is simple and it is beneficial to take a few minutes during, and after, a snowfall to make sure that your system is clear.

Don’t forget to change the furnace filter regularly, more often during winter when the furnace is continually running. A very dirty filter can make your furnace fan work harder and increase your utility bills. We recommend cleaning or replacing your furnace air filter each month. Your furnace will run better, and you’ll breathe easier.

Contact GAC Services if you experience any problems with your heating system at 301-926-3253.  We have been your neighborhood partner for over 50 years for your HVAC and Electrical needs.

Need Service? Schedule a service with us today!

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