Tips for Protecting Your HVAC Unit from Ice

Tips for Protecting Your HVAC Unit from IceBefore the first storm of the season strikes, it’s time to consider winter weather protection for your HVAC unit. Your furnace is sheltered indoors, busy keeping the house warm. However, a major component of your central air conditioner—the condenser unit—spends the winter exposed to outdoor elements. While a central A/C is engineered to withstand very cold temperatures, the unit can still benefit from winter weather protection measures to prevent other potential damage.

As another Ohio winter approaches, here are some preventive steps to take:

Consider a cover.

Once you’re certain you won’t be using the A/C until next spring, an air conditioner cover can be a good investment to keep blowing snow from accumulating inside the unit. Melting snow that refreezes inside can damage internal mechanical components. Get a commercial cover specifically sized for your make and model and don’t opt for DIY alternatives such as simply wrapping the unit in a plastic tarp. Commercially available A/C covers have vent openings that still allow air circulation to prevent moisture accumulation inside the unit—a source of corrosion and damage to vulnerable components. Important: Remember to remove the cover before re-starting the air conditioner.

Remove deep snow.

Snow is heavier than it look. A deep layer can weigh enough to bend the top fan grille of the unit and/or deform the main housing. Use a broom to sweep away snow accumulation before it becomes heavy enough to cause damage.

Icicle defense.

Many central A/C’s are installed next to the house where heavy icicles forming on gutters or due to ice dams on the roof can pose a threat. When they fall and strike the unit, the weight of the ice can be damaging. A piece of plywood—sized to cover the top of the outdoor unit—can provide protection against these falling objects. After placing it on top of the unit, weight it down with a couple of bricks so wind won’t dislodge it. Again, make sure to remove it before starting up the air conditioner.

For professional advice about winter weather protection for your HVAC unit, contact Geisel Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing.

Our goal is to help educate our customers about energy and home comfort issues. For more information about other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Guide or give us a call at 440-345-8795.