Winter Weather and an HVAC System

Winter weather in the upper midwest can be cold, unrelenting, and highly unpredictable. With high chances of snow and ice throughout the winter in our neck of the woods, now is the opportune time for us to share tips and information about how the winter season can impact your home’s HVAC system.

Snow, Ice, and Outdoor HVAC Equipment

If your HVAC system employs an outdoor heat pump, paying extra attention to snow and ice buildup around the unit is critical. Heat pumps operate during both cooling and heating operations requiring year-round observation. Any melting or accumulating snow/ice will adversely effect a heat pump’s operation and efficiently to keep your home warm and comfortable.

While the winter demands focus on furnaces and heating systems, don’t forget about your hibernating outdoor air conditioning unit. Accumulating snow and ice during winter weather events can be harmful to an air conditioning unit. Air conditioner units benefit from having snow and ice accumulation cleared ensuring proper airflow to help prevent rust and corrosion from forming on vital components.

Winter Weather and Furnace Performance

During snowfalls and blizzards, keeping an eye on outdoor HVAC equipment is important. It is doubly important to be mindful of your furnace’s exterior exhaust vent during this type of weather. Blockages of the furnace exhaust port can result in detrimental issues including reduced efficiency, leaking pipes/hoses, or a potential full system breakdown.

How To Keep Your HVAC System Happy During Winter Weather

Monitor Outdoor Equipment and Exhaust Pipes

As discussed above, remove snow and ice from outdoor HVAC equipment to ensure it is not blocked or covered. Checking and clearing gutter blockages that can result in water dripping on HVAC equipment is also an excellent practice. Not only should HVAC equipment be monitored during the snow event itself, you should also be mindful of when temperatures rise which can result in melting snow and pooling water. Clearing exterior exhaust pipes/vents for HVAC equipment not only ensures optimal heating performance, but also helps extend the life of the unit. A blocked exhaust pipe can also lead to a dangerous buildup of carbon monoxide in the home. Keep those exhaust pipes and vents unobstructed!

Keep an Eye on Furnace Filters

If you did not change your furnace filter at the start of the winter season, now is the time to do so. A clean filter ensures proper airflow and enhances the productivity of the furnace. With consistent furnace operation, it is recommended that the air filter be monitored (and changed if needed) on a regular basis. A dirty or clogged filter can result in a costly furnace breakdown.

Do Not Cover Your Air Conditioner

While it may seem like a good practice to cover your outdoor air conditioning unit, this may actually cause more harm than good. A/C covers can trap moisture inside the unit which will freeze condenser coils and cause damage over time. For this reason, we do NOT recommend using an air conditioner cover of any kind. Keeping the unit free from snow and ice accumulation is the best practice.

Know When to Call A.W.E.

If you notice a strange sound, uncommon smell, or temperature fluctuations coming from your furnace or heating system, don’t hesitate to call the reliable team at A.W.E. Our reliable technicians will make an accurate diagnosis and help prevent a complete furnace breakdown. We want to ensure all of our customers are warm and comfortable during the cold Illinois winters. A.W.E. is on call for all your heating and HVAC needs!