As colder weather approaches, many will rely on electricity-powered heat sources, including furnaces, fireplaces, and electric heaters. But cold winter weather can present problems for those with a heating system, a heat pump, an air conditioning system, or an air handler. In this blog, we’ve compiled how snow and ice can affect your heat pump and air conditioning system in Middletown, NY.
1. Snow and Ice Can Damage Wiring
A complete power outage is one of the hazards of snow and ice. And if your heat pump’s air handler is outside, especially in the attic, there’s a chance that it could be affected by snow and ice accumulation. Fuse failure may occur if wiring inside the air handler or in its electrical box gets crushed or damaged by snow or ice.
2. Excessive Snow Insulation Can Overload Your Heat Pump
Snow and ice can accumulate on your heat pump’s outdoor compressor, triggering excessive airflow inside the unit. If this happens, the air pressure may exceed the system’s maximum pressure limit, which could potentially cause the unit to fail.
3. Snow and Ice Can Block the Air Flow of Your AC
With an AC, snow and ice can prevent proper airflow from the outdoor unit to the indoor unit. This can lead to a condensation or dew point temperature drop in the unit, which may not maintain internal temperature. If this condition persists, it can damage primary compressor components, including the condenser fan motor.
4. Snow and Ice Can Slow Down the Efficiency of Your AC
Due to snow and ice accumulation, the outdoor unit’s movement can cause the AC’s blower fan to overheat. This may result in reduced AC efficiency, which can increase energy use by up to 20 percent.
5. Snow and Ice Can Shut Down Your Heat Pump and AC
With an AC, ice buildup can result in a cooling loss inside the home if the heat is being transferred from the outside unit into the house. Heat pumps are designed to run at temperatures lower than your home, so if they can’t keep up with the cold temperature outside, you could experience a reduction in your cool air delivery.
6. Low Refrigerant Pressure Can Result in a Malfunctioning System
When there’s excessive snow or ice, the connection between the outdoor unit and indoor unit can be blocked, which could result in either a drop in airflow or an error code on your electronic thermostat. If this happens, it could lead to the heat pump or air conditioning system malfunctioning, causing it to stop working and incorrectly operating.
7. Snow and Ice Can Cause Damage to Your Heat Pump or AC Unit
Whether a heat pump or a conventional furnace, a snow and ice buildup can cause damage to your home’s heating unit. Blockage of the airflow from the outside compressor to the indoor coil can result in a water block, leading to freezing and, potentially, unit failure.
8. A Frozen Outdoor Unit Can Break
If too much freezing temperatures, snow, and ice accumulation occur on the outdoor unit, it could create cracks in the metal and cause it to break. This can block or stop the ability of the unit to maintain proper operation, in which case, a broken outdoor unit in the heat pump could be a safety hazard.
9. Exposed Outdoor Coils Could Freeze
If you have exposed outdoor coils on your HVAC system, you could be subject to harsh winters that can cause your coils to chill down and freeze. This could result in a complete shut down of the heating or cooling unit, causing it to malfunction or stop working altogether. If this happens, contact us to fix the problem and prevent it from occurring again in the future.
10. Snow and Ice Can Break the Condenser Sleeve
The condenser sleeve is the sleeve that goes around the whole outside unit. This can be susceptible to snow and ice buildup, which could cause it to crack or break. If this happens, there’s an increase in the likelihood of refrigerant leaks, resulting in a malfunctioning HVAC system.
If you’re having problems with your heating or cooling system in cold weather, our technician can help you identify why it’s not working correctly. If the outdoor unit is covered in snow and ice, our experts can clear that off for you before it causes any severe damage to your HVAC system. Contact WK Mechanical, Inc. today if you need help in water treatment, improving indoor air quality, and installing and maintaining boilers and hydronic systems in Middletown, NY. We offer comprehensive heating and cooling services, too.