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Residents of Dover, DE, are probably used to dealing with snow and ice during the winter season. However, what you might not realize is that these elements can impact how your heat pump functions. Read on for five of the ways snow and ice can negatively affect your heating and cooling system.

1. Blockages

Your heat pump pulls heat from the air outdoors and transfers it inside to warm up your home. To do this, it needs to pull in air from around the outdoor unit. If something obstructs the airflow, your heat pump will need to work harder to do its job, and you’ll likely feel it struggling to keep up or see an increase in energy bills.

Another problem with restricted airflow is the emission of harmful carbon monoxide when your system burns fuel. If your system is in good condition, it sends this poisonous gas outside through the exhaust. However, when clogged with snow and ice, carbon monoxide can build up in your heat pump and, ultimately, your house.

While you should never cover your heat pump, you can create a wind barrier around the outdoor unit. Ensure you check your gutters often for snow and ice buildup and protect the air conditioner condenser during the off-season.

2. Damage from Melting Snow

You’ll find valves and controls in your heat pump that are susceptible to damage from the melting snow. Sometimes, the outside part of your heat pump might look dry and fine, but that doesn’t mean that the internal components are in good condition. Corrosion can occur inside the pump, which may cause the system to fail or, even worse, catch fire.

Corrosion isn’t your only enemy, either — snow and ice can melt and drip into your heat pump and then refreeze once inside. If that’s the case, you might see your heat pump struggling to heat your home, or it may even shut down entirely.

3. Damage to Your Wiring

When it comes to damage from snow and ice, corrosion is just one of many enemies you may face- your wires could become compromised, too. Exposed wiring can corrode as the weight of ice and snow can break the wires themselves, and standing moisture can degrade the coating on them.

This problem becomes more severe if your system’s air handler is exposed to the elements. Crushed or otherwise damaged wiring in the air handler or around your home’s electrical box can lead to fuse failure. If this happens, you won’t just need to call someone for heat pump repairs but potentially a separate electrician.

4. Heat Pump Overload

Your heat pump’s outdoor compressor must be free of debris. Where ice and snow buildup can restrict airflow from your heat pump, buildup on the compressor can actually lead to too much airflow. If this happens, your system may exceed its pressure limit, leading to failure.

5. Outdoor Unit Damage

Excessively cold temperatures can make the metal on the outside brittle. In conjunction with snow and ice battering down on it, the pump’s housing can result in cracking. In the best-case scenario, a thin crack may just increase the noise your heat pump makes when it’s operating. However, cracks can grow over time, and a severe defect in the heat pump’s metal can lead to the system breaking down. At worst, this can even pose a potential safety hazard.

The winter season comes with its own set of challenges. Don’t just wait for a heating and cooling breakdown to call in a professional. Instead, invest in routine maintenance to make sure your heat pump stays in tip-top condition and is ready to take on all types of weather, including cold temperatures. Contact Griffith Energy Services, as our team is the best around when it comes to not only maintenance but installations and repairs as well. Our service technicians work tirelessly to deliver an unmatched experience, whether that involves repairing an existing system or helping you select a new one. Regardless, we’ll always deliver “Doggone Dependable” service!

Image provided by iStock

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