Any resident of Northern Virginia knows that each season is experienced to its fullest; blazing Summer days, rainy Spring afternoons, breezy Autumn mornings, and, of course, snowy Winter nights. The weather obviously impacts the outfits you choose to wear and your travel plans, but have you ever wondered how it can affect your HVAC unit? We bet you are now!
Though your outdoor unit is built to withstand most weather, it is important to understand that severe weather such as storms that can cause flooding, blizzards, or even windstorms can cause serious damage that may cause your unit to stop functioning properly or altogether. This is why we have put together this guide with the different types of weather that can be damaging to your unit, safe prevention measures you can take, and more!
If your area experiences a severe storm that brings large amounts of water, exceeding 15 inches, or you live near a body of water that is prone to flooding, then your unit may be subject to damage. In these cases, it is important that you turn off your entire HVAC system and call a trusted technician to come to inspect it for any water damage before turning it back on since various electrical and moving components inside your unit can become a safety hazard to you and your family if they become damaged from water.
Wind is a year-round struggle for many people, especially when paired with a storm or in highspeed situations. The most common wind damage is caused by flying debris that can cause dents and damage to parts of your unit. In addition to this, your unit’s condenser coils and fan are susceptible to becoming clogged with dust and debris which can cause a range of problems from restricted heat flow to a stuck fan motor.
After a severe storm, inspect your unit for any visible signs of damage. If it is safe to do so, disconnect the power from your unit and remove any debris. Otherwise, assess for apparent signs of damage, or if you aren’t sure about the severity of the damage, call to your HVAC technician to help assess and resolve the situation.
Snow and Hail
Most of the time snow and hail will not cause harm to your HVAC unit, but there are some cases in which large amounts of snow or large hail can have a serious impact on your function or even cause your unit to break. For example, if condensation from melted snow freezes on the coil fins, they can become bent due to the expanding ice. These bent fins will restrict the airflow through your system and cause it to have to work harder than they should. You can also run into major airflow issues if snow builds up, around, or in your unit. This makes your unit work harder if the pile lingers and can cause parts such as your fan to break due to the pressure.
In cases where the snow melts and then re-freezes, a block of ice will form inside your machine and potentially cause it to stop working altogether – imagine your fan motor trying to run with the blades frozen in a block of ice. Not good.
It is important to note that we do not recommend covering your unit with a plastic or tarp covering, as this can cause serious safety hazards. If you decide to cover your unit, it is best to use something that allows the air to continue flowing through your machine without completely covering the fan or the coils. In the case that you do use an official mesh or similar cover, be sure to remove it as soon as the snow or hail stops, as these can cause damage if used for extended periods of time.
Twin Air Can Help!
If your HVAC unit has weather damage, give Twin Air a call today! We will gladly work with you to repair any damage and help guide you in preventing damage during severe weather. Call (703) 754-1062 or contact us through our website.