The construction of the HVAC unit can withstand harsh winter weather. However, no HVAC system is invincible. It cannot handle excess exposure to the extreme weather and bone-chilling temperatures that occur regularly in Illinois. What do you do when there is too much snow? Our technicians will keep your HVAC in pristine condition, and we can’t stress enough to avoid DIY methods on a frozen unit. However, cleaning and protecting it goes a long way toward preventing problems.
Can Your HVAC Unit Handle Snow?
A dusting of snow on your unit may or may not be concerning, but it is wise to check it for visible issues. The unit may have frost, ice, snow, or debris inside or around it. The concern arises when there is a pile of snow on top or around the unit after a snowstorm. Ice is also problematic. Ice comes from melted snow water that refreezes overnight. Ice can also come from falling roof icicles landing on the unit.
What Does Snow Do to the HVAC Unit?
Snow itself is light and harmless. However, snow and heat-generating units do not mix. When a pile lands on top of it and stays there overnight, it freezes, blocking your home from much-needed warm air. Some snow pieces fall through the vents and land on unit parts like the coil, pipes, and fan.
The sun outside can melt the snow. What doesn’t melt and evaporate will refreeze overnight. The snow on the unit becomes a block of ice. The moisture inside the unit is stuck, so it refreezes and covers the unit parts. The sun during the day and the cold air at night will repeat the process again and again. The water and ice will have difficulty melting and drying.
The refrozen slush will rust, corrode, and damage unit parts. It will block airflow, lower efficiency, and release harmful gasses like carbon monoxide into the air. The block of ice on top of the unit adds unnecessary weight. That will force it to work harder to produce the same results. Eventually, the stress and deterioration will overheat and burn out, permanently shutting it off.
What adds to the problem is the falling water and ice from the roof. Wet icicles, water, and melted snow could land on the unit or through the vents, causing problems similar to refrozen slush. It’s essential to clear ice dams and water from the roof, gutters, and downspouts to protect your HVAC unit from damage.
How Do I Clear Snow From the Unit?
The morning or midday after the storm will make cleaning easy because the snow is soft and slushy. It will be easier to reach the unit if you create a path to it. Consider cleaning your HVAC unit concurrently with your driveway and walkway clearing.
Grab a broom or brush and push the snow away from the unit. Leave a foot to 18-inch radius between it and the snow. Clear the pile on top of it as well. Never use sharp objects to clear ice or snow from the unit; they can poke holes in the exterior or outside parts. Never use hot water to unthaw ice inside or around it. That shocks the system and shatters unit parts. If you need HVAC repair for accidental damage, contact Fire 'n' Ice Heating & Cooling, Inc. in Downers Grove.
Should a snowstorm hit the area, cover the HVAC with an HVAC cover before it hits. Then take it off after the storm passes. Ventilation is paramount to dry the unit. Do not keep the cover on all winter. Melted snow and ice water will reach it eventually, causing rust and mold growth. Also, rodents, pests, and critters will use it for shelter and make a nest inside. Their intrusion causes damage to parts.
Let Us Clear Your Unit of Snow, Ice, and Moisture
Fire 'n' Ice Heating & Cooling, Inc. believes it’s never too late to take care of your HVAC unit this winter. We will examine, diagnose, and repair any issues the unit has so it continues to operate at maximum performance. Should your outdoor unit fail, we have the knowledge and technology to install a new one. Our 24/7 emergency service means we come day or night, so you don’t have to wait long for repair or replacement. We also offer year-round AC maintenance so it can operate effectively during the warmer months.
Our expertise extends to heat pumps, mini-splits, indoor air quality, and commercial services. Also, check out this website for specials, rebates, and financing options. Contact Fire 'n' Ice Heating & Cooling, Inc. in Downers Grove, IL for more information.