How to Protect Your American Standard HVAC System from Wintry Weather

by Chris Long - November 30, 2017

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Living in the northeast during winter means battling the elements…inside and outside.

When we head outside, we need to contend with freezing weather, slippery sidewalks and treacherous, icy highways.

When we’re indoors, we need to worry about things like frozen pipes, heavy snow collecting on the roof, and making sure sidewalks are clear.

And then there’s your residential heating and cooling unit, which is vital during the winter. Before cold weather arrives, read up on how to protect your American Standard HVAC system.

Gas furnaces

If you use a gas furnace to heat your home, make sure you’ve protected the exhaust/intake pipes against melting and accumulating snow. Without proper protection, these pipes are at risk. When snow gets in, melts and refreezes, the pipes can become shrouded in ice, causing your American Standard HVAC system to shut down.

The controls and valves on gas furnaces and boilers are vulnerable to water damage, which not only makes your system less reliable, but also presents a fire hazard. If you think water from melted snow has gotten into your furnace, get the unit checked by an authorized HVAC professional as soon as you can.

Ice Dams and snow on a roof. This can wreak havoc with your heat pumps.Heat pumps

When snow melts, that water can seep from your gutters & roof down to your heat pump. When that water freezes again, it can knock the unit off balance and lead to refrigeration leaks. While frost on the coil is common, a unit encased in ice is a serious matter, and should be addressed immediately to avoid serious damage and energy loss.

Protecting outdoor units

If you have an outdoor HVAC unit, there are some measures you can take to keep it protected before winter arrives:

  • Look for the air conditioning circuit near the unit. Open the lip and turn the unit off, which will keep it from turning itself on during an unseasonably warm day. This will keep water – which would freeze when it gets cold again – out of the unit.
  • Wash your outdoor unit to remove dirt, dust, dead insects, grass clippings, branches, leaves, etc., and allow the unit to dry.
  • Surround the exterior of any exposed pipes with foam pipe covers to insulate them and keep them from freezing. Duct tape will hold the covers in place.
  • Cover the unit with plastic or vinyl sheeting, something that’s waterproof. You may be able to find a cover specifically made for an outdoor residential heating and cooling unit, but any plastic/vinyl cover that fits the unit will work.
  • Wrap ropes or bungee cords around the cover to tie it down, and check the cover once a week to make sure it’s secure. Clear away snow, ice, twigs and leaves.

The importance of regular maintenance

Technician fixing a gas furnace. For the more difficult stuff make sure you use a licensed technician.When winter comes, your HVAC system is going to be busy. And like any busy piece of machinery, it will need regular maintenance.

Some of it – replacing air filters for instance – you can tackle on your own. But serious maintenance and repairs should be left to a professional HVAC technician.

If you’re worried about keeping your system safe this winter, All Seasons Comfort Control can help. Our technicians have spent more than 15 years helping Bucks, Montgomery and Mercer County homeowners keep their homes warm in the winter. Contact us today to schedule your next maintenance appointment.

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