HVAC Tips for Winter: How to Keep Your Heat Pump in Top Shape

Winter is both the best and worst part of living in the north. Being in an icy wonderland is only fun if you’re not freezing inside your home or office. It’s not just a matter of comfort. For one thing, indoor heating prevents you from getting sick or catching hypothermia as temperatures plummet. That’s why a well-maintained HVAC system can be a lifesaver. It does a lot of heavy lifting to keep indoor temperatures nice and cozy. Given its importance, conducting troubleshooting tests is a must so that your HVAC unit is at peak condition even in the middle of a blizzard. Let’s discuss the most common HVAC issues and how maintenance can help you mitigate the impact of ice and snow, along with some practical HVAC tips for winter.


How Do Snow and Ice Affect Your Heat Pump?

HVAC maintenance on your heat pump unit is a must during winter because prolonged exposure to snow and ice can damage your system. Here are some of the adverse effects that can happen.


Short-Circuit Due to Snow and Ice Buildup

When snow and ice pile up on the exterior components of your heat pump, the unit does more work than usual. This is because airflow is limited due to the snow blocking the passageway. As a result, your heat pump may short-circuit and stop functioning.

Too much snow can also freeze the exterior equipment of your heat pump. When that happens, your system triggers the emergency shut-off and stops warm air from circulating inside your house. At the same time, the aluminum fan and coil fins may bend due to the buildup. Continuous operation of the heat pump system without removing the snow can break the fins.


Damage Due to Melting and Refreezing Snow

When snow melts, water can enter the valves of the exterior unit and cause corrosion. On the other hand, refreezing snow can potentially lead to burst pipes or warped parts. This, in turn, shuts down your furnace.


Damage Due to Falling Icicles


Most of the time, the exterior components of your heat pump are under rain gutters. This is an area where icicles form during winter. When they grow large and heavy, icicles can fall on your unit and cause substantial damage.


Clogged Exhaust Pipes

Pay attention to the exhaust pipes of your heat pump system because these keep you safe. They make sure that toxic chemicals like carbon monoxide don’t build up inside your home. If these get blocked by snow, the potential that dangerous fumes can circulate back into the home increases. If it snows where you live, make it part of your daily snow removal routine to inspect the exhaust pipes of your heat pump. Ensure that this area is kept clear at all times.


Top 3 Heat Pump and HVAC Tips for Winter

Now that you know the impact of winter on HVAC systems, see what you should do to prevent its harmful effects during the cold season.


Keep the HVAC Exterior Clear of Snow

Make it a habit to clear snow and ice from the exterior parts of your heat pump. This minimizes the amount of snow getting close to your unit. After a heavy snowfall, you can melt ice buildup by carefully pouring hot water on the unit. When doing so, make sure to work fast to prevent refreezing from happening.


Protect Your AC with a Cover

Go the extra mile by buying a protective cover for your outdoor air conditioning unit. A cover can protect your unit by shielding it from falling icicles and debris, as well as ensuring it won’t become a home to pests during the winter months.


Change the Air Filter Regularly

Always check and see if your heat pump air filter needs changing. A clogged filter causes faster ice formation and creates airflow obstructions. If left forgotten, there is a higher chance that your unit will freeze and shut down.


Prepare for Winter by Completing HVAC Maintenance

Regular maintenance is key to keeping winter gear in top shape, including HVAC systems. With that said, here are the things you need to do for HVAC maintenance:


Clean the Air Vents

Always keep the air vents of your HVAC system spotless by vacuuming grills with a brush attachment. This improves the airflow and prevents dust buildup, which can turn into dangerous obstructions in the system’s pipes. For proper circulation, ensure that furniture, rugs, or curtains are not blocking air vents.


Check for Ductwork Leaks

Inspect your air ducts for any leaks, tears, or loose connections. If there are, immediately seal them with a sealant. This prevents heated air from going to waste and ensures proper ventilation within your household.


Set Your Thermostat

Learning how to adjust your thermostat will make a lot of difference during the cold season. Switch from cooling to heating mode so your HVAC system starts to distribute warm air in your home. If you wish to save on electricity, you can set your thermostat a bit lower than usual and just wear layers for added warmth.



Check the Furnace Flue

Before running your furnace, check the exhaust vent for any obstructions to prepare it for winter. Doing so lowers your exposure to carbon monoxide since fumes can exit the furnace properly. Keep in mind that carbon monoxide poisoning is dangerous.


Stay Warm and Cozy With a Working Heat Pump

To keep the winter blues away, you need to have a heat pump that’s up to the task. We hope these HVAC tips and maintenance reminders help you get the most from your heating system. Find the right HVAC system at Napoleon. We have a wide array of products, such as gas furnaces, heat pumps, air conditioners, and more. Contact us today to find out how we can help you stay nice and warm during winter.