Protecting the HVAC Unit from the Elements

With the Treasure Valley finally experiencing snow, it’s time to talk about protecting the outdoor HVAC unit from the elements. These units are built to withstand snow and ice, but they do have a limit. The outdoor unit requires air flow to work properly. If that is compromised by snow or ice, it could have a huge impact on its efficiency.

When snow accumulates on the HVAC system, it could melt and refreeze, leaving it a solid block of ice. Most furnaces have a built-in safety mechanism that shuts the furnace off when the vents are blocked. This prevents carbon monoxide from leaking into the house.

When the temperature outside is below freezing for a few days in a row, it’s a good idea to inspect the furnace vent pipe outside of the house. If there is frost on the pipe, scrape it off. If there’s a larger buildup of frost that isn’t easily scrapable, try using a hairdryer to melt it off.

Snow can accumulate quickly. During heavy snowfalls clear snow away from the vent’s opening. When clearing snow away do not use a shovel because it could damage the vent pipe.

Another HVAC item that can be damage by frost, ice or snow is the electric meter. If it is covered in snow, ice or frost, it could start to malfunction. This could cause the furnace to run less efficiently or shut down.

This winter, keep an eye on the frost, as well as snow and ice buildup around the outside HVAC unit. It could prevent the system from shutting off, carbon monoxide poisoning, and corrosion or rusting of the unit.

If the furnace does shut off unexpectedly, call the experts at Diamond Heating and Cooling. They are available 24/7 for heating emergencies to keep everyone in Boise and throughout the Treasure Valley warm this winter.


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