How to Protect Your Heat Pump from Snow & Ice

As the winter season gradually draws near, it is wise to prepare for the cold weather by ensuring that your heat pump is properly protected from snow and ice. Some unexpectedly extremely cold winter days or nights can cause your heat pump to work overtime, which can lead to discomfort for your family and costly repairs.

How to Protect Your Heat Pump from Snow & Ice

That is why you should take some preventative measures to ensure that your heat pump is protected against the elements. By following some simple tips, you can help keep your heat pump running smoothly all winter long.

Baylor Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing provides a wide range of heat pump services, from installation to repair and maintenance. Our team of certified technicians has the experience and knowledge to keep your heat pump running efficiently all winter long.

What Damage Am I Preventing?

Protecting your HVAC system involves both interior and exterior care. Most homeowners are well aware of what interior HVAC care includes; have a programmable thermostat in place, change your air filters regularly, and schedule annual system maintenance with a licensed HVAC contractor.

However, not everyone realizes the importance of exterior HVAC maintenance. This aspect of care involves protecting your HVAC unit from damage that results from exposure to the elements in the winter and a little into spring. In the winter there’s always the risk of ice and snow clogging your unit. In other months, debris and storm can wreak havoc on your system.

Ice and snow can block the airflow between the air outside and your heat pump. This diminishes your unit’s energy efficiency and may result in severe damage that can make your heat pump unrepairable. You don’t have to worry about a thin layer of frost but you need to do something about a significant amount of snow and ice.

You always have to inspect the area surrounding your home after each big storm. If you’re using a gas furnace in your home, take steps to keep your exhaust and intake pipes clear and clean. If the pipes are clogged, this may result in combustion gases being forced back into your home and a complete system breakdown.

Heat Pump Defrost Cycle

Heat pumps can cope with a reasonable amount of ice build-up because of their automatic defrost system and their shifting to heat-distribution mode. This cycle takes about 15 minutes and involves returning hot refrigerant to the outdoor unit to heat the ice or snow. The same way the heat pump works in the summer months. While this cycle lasts, cool air may exit the vents.

In certain models, the auxiliary heat comes on. This is also known as the electric heat. If the heat pump fails to turn back on after the defrost cycle, the auxiliary heat will remain on and can keep your home comfortable all night. You should call for service if this happens. Otherwise, your electricity bill will be much higher than usual.

Recommended Snow And Ice Maintenance

While a small layer of frost on the outdoor coils is not a cause for alarm, you should take measures to ensure that the unit is not totally frozen. You should get an HVAC technician to check your heat pump for damage if the outside unit stays frozen or frosty for more than 3 hours. Let’s take a more in-depth look at how you can protect your heat pump from snow and ice build-up:

  • Clear dirt and debris away from the unit: Turn the unit off or leave it in emergency heat. Then clear away any dirt, debris, or leaves around the unit. This will help prevent ice and snow from building up and blocking airflow to the coils. Be careful not to damage the outside unit. One way to do this is to avoid using sharp objects to move away snow and ice. If possible, keep a 2-foot space around the unit clear.
  • Install a cover: Look for a heat pump cover that’s durable, weather-resistant, and breathable. This will help protect your unit from snow, ice, dirt, debris, and animals. This cover also provides shade in summer, thereby increasing energy efficiency.
  • Don’t put the cover or anything else directly on the unit: Doing this will prevent airflow and cause the coils to overheat and break down. The 2-foot space mentioned earlier also includes the top of your unit.
  • Check for damage after each storm: Inspect your heat pump for any physical damage after every major storm. If you see anything, call for a professional HVAC repair service right away. Check your condenser and ensure that it is free of snow.
  • Trim back foliage: If you have any trees, shrubs, or other foliage near the unit, make sure that they are trimmed back. This will help ensure that the unit has adequate airflow.
  • Regularly remove snow and ice from your unit: This should be done every few days, especially if you live in an area that gets a lot of snowfall.
  • Melt ice with a hose or warm water: This step should only be done when outside temperatures are below freezing. Be careful not to use boiling water.
  • Replace your air filter often: This will help to keep the HVAC system clean and well ventilated.
  • Cover and insulate all pipes: If you live in an area that gets a lot of snow, make sure all pipes that are susceptible to bursting are properly covered and insulated.
  • Consider getting a professional tune-up: This is recommended at least once a year. It will help to prolong the life of your heat pump, keep it clean, and prevent any major repair issues.

How to Protect Your Rooftop HVAC Unit

If you’re a business owner, you know that your HVAC unit is one of the most important pieces of equipment in your building. Not only does it keep your customers and employees comfortable, but it also helps to regulate indoor air quality. That’s why it’s so important to protect your rooftop HVAC unit from snow and ice build-up. Here are two ways to do that:

Install a proper drainage system: Make sure that you have a properly installed drainage system that can handle the amount of water that your HVAC unit produces. This will help to prevent any water damage to your unit. Also, when ice and snow melt, the drainage system will ensure that water doesn’t get to your unit. Get professionals to inspect and clean your gutter and drainage system at least twice every year.

Regularly Scheduled Maintenance: Regularly scheduled maintenance is the best way to protect your rooftop HVAC unit from snow and ice build-up. This will help to ensure that your unit is operating at peak efficiency and that any potential problems are caught early. A professional HVAC technician will be able to clean your coils, check for leaks, and make sure that your unit is properly lubricated. This prolongs the life of your unit and prevents any unexpected repairs. If you have any concerns about your heat pump or would like to schedule routine maintenance, don’t hesitate to contact us today. Our team of expert technicians is always ready to help. Call now!

If you follow these tips, you’ll be able to protect your heat pump from snow and ice build-up. By doing so, you’ll help to prolong the life of your unit and keep it running at peak efficiency.

Leave Your Heat Pump To The Experts

Your heat pump is an essential part of your home, especially in the winter. By taking steps to protect it from snow and ice, you can help to prolong its life and enjoy a comfortable home. But, if you’re not sure how to protect your heat pump, or if you would like someone to take care of it for you, then consider hiring a professional HVAC company.

At Baylor Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing, we have years of experience servicing and repairing heat pumps. We know how to properly protect your heat pump from snow and ice, and we can even help you to prevent future problems. Contact us today at 812.425.8435 to learn more about our services or to schedule a consultation. We’ll be happy to answer any of your questions and provide you with the information you need to make the best decision.

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