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Utah winters may be unpredictable, but you can almost always expect snow and ice. While your furnace is hard at work keeping your home comfortable, is the winter weather harming your outdoor AC unit? And how does snowfall affect furnace performance? Find the answers to your questions here.

Is Snow and Ice Buildup Bad for an AC Unit?

You might be focused on home heating this time of year, but your air conditioner is stuck outside, where it’s subject to freezing temperatures, blowing snow, and ice buildup. Don’t worry—air conditioners are designed to withstand temperatures below 0 degrees. You wouldn’t want to run your AC at this temperature, but the unit shouldn’t suffer damage.

Of course, if your outdoor unit is a heat pump, you rely on it for both heating and cooling. Heat pumps come with a defrost setting to remove light snow and ice accumulation, but record snowfall could be detrimental.

How Does Snow Affect the Furnace?

Even though all furnace components are located inside, a winter storm could impact performance if snow drifts block the exhaust pipe. A blocked vent is also dangerous because fumes may backdraft into your home, potentially exposing you and your family to carbon monoxide.

How to Maintain Your HVAC System in Winter

Follow these tips to ensure smooth HVAC performance and a warm, safe home all winter long:

  • Monitor outdoor units and vents: While you don’t need to worry about brushing snow off your air conditioner, you should shovel away snow from around your heat pump and furnace exhaust pipe.
  • Do not cover the air conditioner: Many homeowners believe the myth that you should cover your AC unit in the winter. In reality, this traps moisture against the cold metal, leading to condensation and rust. If you’re concerned about falling icicles, place a board weighed down with rocks or bricks on top of the air conditioner.
  • Check the furnace filter often: A clogged air filter strains your furnace and may cause a breakdown. To promote good airflow, boost efficiency, and improve indoor air quality, check the filter once a month and change it when it appears dirty.
  • Know when to call for help: Any unusual noises, foul odors, or comfort problems signal the need for furnace repair or maintenance. Keep on top of issues as they develop to avoid breakdowns and more expensive repairs.

If your HVAC unit acts up this winter, or you have questions about running your heating and cooling system this time of year, turn to Parley’s PPM Plumbing, Heating & Cooling. We have over 40 years of experience providing unparalleled customer service and quality HVAC repairs and installation. Our team is dedicated to your satisfaction and strives to do it right the first time.

Ready to schedule HVAC services with a knowledgeable, caring technician? Utah County residents can reach us at 801-226-3033, while Salt Lake County residents should call 801-229-2665. You can also contact us online with any questions you have.

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