While the weather has been mild this season, ice and snowstorms can come on in just minutes. Without proper care, a winter storm can seriously damage a home’s HVAC system. To help you prepare for harsh winter weather, we’re offering a few tips to keep your home and heating system safe.

The Effects of Snow and Ice on Heating and Cooling Systems

A blanket of snow can be a peaceful and beautiful sight, but it can also be costly and damaging. Winter storms cause billions of dollars in losses each year, and home HVAC systems are no exception to the rule. From icicle damage to snow buildup, heavy snowfall can affect system function in many ways.

Without proper protection, ice and snow can cause fan damage, corrosion, airflow problems, rust, reduced efficiency, and much more. Along with the potential for expensive repairs, the effects of ice and snow on an outdoor HVAC unit can bring an increase in utility bills.

If there’s too much snow built up around your furnace exhaust or exterior vents, the system will have to work harder, thereby using more energy. Snow and ice can have dangerous effects on a home and its HVAC unit. If the furnace’s exhaust is blocked by built-up snow, harmful chemicals such as carbon monoxide can enter the home.

Identifying Your System’s Risk Factors

From outdoor units that get buried in snowdrifts to condensers that suffer damage from falling icicles, it can be tough to tell what will happen to an HVAC system during the winter. Protecting the system begins with understanding its makeup, the location of its components, and the risks that may affect exposed areas. Here’s a list of unit types:

  • Window heating and AC units, which typically sit in a window frame and have coils that are exposed
  • Baseboard heaters, which suffer few wintertime effects because they’re usually found indoors
  • Central units that have outdoor condensers and indoor components

No matter what kind of system your home has, you can count on us to keep it running. Call today to schedule seasonal HVAC maintenance.

Tips to Protect HVAC Systems From Ice and Snow

Here are a few easy tips to keep your home and heating system safe all winter long.

  • Clear away any tree branches. If there are limbs or branches hanging near an outdoor unit, remove them before the first snowfall. During a snowstorm, limbs can grow quite heavy, causing breakage and significant damage.
  • Remove buildup on the unit itself. Along with the removal of nearby tree branches, you’ll need to clean the unit. Heavy ice and snow buildup can cause airflow issues that lead to heat pump and condensing unit failure, as well as other expensive repairs. Be sure to remove the buildup carefully, using a broom or warm water instead of an axe or icepick.
  • Check the outside vents. Built-up snow that blocks outside heating vents can be very damaging to an HVAC system. Whenever there’s a big snowstorm in your part of Illinois, take a few minutes to check the exterior vents and remove the buildup. It’s a good idea to make vent inspections a routine part of your snow cleanup process. Whenever it’s time to snow-blow, shovel, or plow the driveway and walkway, pay a bit of attention to the exterior HVAC vents as well.
  • Install a protective system. If you want to save effort and time when clearing snow, consider a protective cover for the outdoor HVAC unit. These covering systems will catch snow and ice before it reaches the unit, providing additional protection.
    While you’ll still have to go outside and remove the snow from the top of the cover, most protective systems will protect the unit enough to reduce the need for shoveling around and under it. These protective systems also keep outdoor units safe from the effects of falling icicles. You can build or buy a cover for an outdoor HVAC unit.
  • Schedule seasonal maintenance. One of the most crucial parts of keeping your HVAC system working during the winter is the scheduling of regular maintenance. During a seasonal inspection, our technicians won’t just keep the system in good working order; they will also recommend best practices for protecting outdoor units.

These are just a few of the easiest ways to protect your home’s HVAC system from the harmful effects of snow and ice. Call or click today to learn more.

We Can Get Home HVAC Systems Ready for Anything

With expert-level care and professional recommendations from our team of trained and licensed HVAC technicians, there’s nothing your home’s heating system won’t be prepared for this winter. For repairs, maintenance, replacements, repairs, and all your other heating and air conditioning needs in Lennox and the surrounding areas, contact the pros at Zark Heating & Cooling today.

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