With the arrival of winter’s chilly embrace, your HVAC system encounters its fair share of unique obstacles. When snow and ice build up, they can damage and shorten the life of your HVAC system. Here are nine tried-and-true methods for keeping your HVAC system secure from the winter element so that you can rest assured that it will continue to work reliably all season long.
1. Clear Snow and Ice Buildup
Clearing the area surrounding the HVAC unit of snow and ice daily is the most basic but essential step. To keep the snow from getting in the way of the system’s operation, carefully sweep or brush away any accumulation. Take care not to break any fragile parts while you’re at it.
2. Maintain Proper Clearance
Make sure there’s ample space around your outdoor HVAC units. Cut down any branches that are overhanging the units, and get rid of anything that could block the airflow or make snowfall more likely. This maximizes the system’s performance while also protecting it from falling precipitation.
3. Install Shelter or Awning
To protect the HVAC unit from snow and ice, you might want to think about putting an awning or cover over it. Aim to use a protective covering that lets air circulate while limiting buildup on the device.
4. Consider Elevating the System
You can lift your HVAC system if you want to save it from becoming buried in heavy snow. Simplify maintenance and reduce the likelihood of ice development by placing the unit on a platform or using risers.
5. Install a Snow Guard or Fence
Another excellent way to prevent snow from getting on the HVAC unit is to install a snow barrier or fence around it. Especially in places that get a lot of snow in the winter, this easy barrier keeps the snow from piling up. Installing barriers or fences around an outside HVAC unit can include options like mesh snow guards, vinyl-coated fencing, or purpose-built protective enclosures. These barriers help divert falling snow away from the unit, minimizing direct exposure and preventing ice accumulation.
6. Maintain Proper Drainage
Be sure to keep the drainage surrounding your HVAC unit in good repair so that snow and ice don’t accumulate. Water gathering around the system due to poor drainage increases the likelihood of ice formation when temperatures drop below freezing. There is a risk of damage, reduced performance, and blocked airflow caused by accumulated ice. If you take measures to improve drainage, you lessen the chances of problems caused by ice. This preventative measure also ensures the HVAC system can work as effectively as possible, even in the winter.
7. Use Heating Cables
Another way to keep ice and snow from collecting on outside HVAC equipment is by using heating cables or heat tape, either automated or constant-wattage. These wires ensure uninterrupted operation throughout the winter by creating heat to melt any accumulated snow. The correct installation of the heating wires is essential for avoiding problems caused by ice, keeping the HVAC unit efficient, and protecting its components from freezing-related damage.
8. Insulate Exposed Pipes
Insulating exposed pipes keeps the temperature steady, protecting pipes from the damaging effects of freezing. Not only does this prevent damage to the unit’s parts, but it also helps the HVAC system work better and last longer in the winter.
9. Schedule Regular HVAC Maintenance
Preventing ice and snow accumulation on outside units is only one of the many advantages of routine winter HVAC maintenance. To lessen the likelihood of ice-related difficulties, technicians can detect possible problems, check for adequate insulation, and evaluate drainage. This preventative method improves system performance, shields it from harm, and helps keep the inside of the home at a constant, pleasant temperature. Investing in HVAC maintenance in the winter is crucial for dependable performance, energy efficiency, and the lifespan of outside systems. Scheduling regular winter HVAC maintenance also makes it possible to fix problems before they turn into expensive repairs.
Being proactive in safeguarding your HVAC system against snow and ice can protect its efficiency and longevity. If you want to make sure that your HVAC unit lasts all winter and keeps you warm and comfortable inside, contact Fire 'n' Ice Heating & Cooling, Inc. now. We help Downers Grove homeowners with all types of heating and cooling, including ductless mini-split systems, indoor air quality testing, and more. Contact us now to learn more ways to keep your HVAC system clear of ice and snow this winter.