How Different Weather Conditions Affect an HVAC System

Weather in Burbank, CA

HVAC units are built to withstand and function during a variety of weather conditions so you can keep your home comfortable year-round. However, the extremes of any weather condition can leave their marks on your cooling and heating unit. Outdoor AC components suffer more from extreme weather conditions, but that doesn’t mean that the interior parts are always safe. Most weather conditions leave short-term and long-term impacts on the health and efficiency of your heating and cooling system. Here are some different ways weather conditions can affect your HVAC. There are many precautions we can take to minimize storm damage to HVAC units.

Heavy Storms and High-Speed Winds

As high-speed winds impact your outdoor HVAC unit, they can loosen and even damage components, as well as blow dirt and debris into them. High-speed flying debris thrown around by powerful winds can leave some parts broken. Dust and particles blown into your HVAC unit can collect around the evaporation coils, leading to clogs. Clogs offer a fitting environment for mold growth, which can ultimately affect the quality of air channeled in and out of your home. Clogs can also render the HVAC inefficient and unable to heat your home to the desired temperatures. Call an HVAC tech if your HVAC unit makes strange noises or doesn’t turn on after a storm. Of course, many storms are accompanied by rain, which has its own impact.

Heavy Rainfalls

Heavy rains can seriously affect the internal and external AC components, including your home’s ductwork. Outdoor unit components, such as the condenser coil and compressor coil, probably won’t suffer much. Thanks to damage-resistant copper and aluminum constructions, these elements are built to be strong and long-lasting. Likewise, electrical components that are well-maintained have solid sealing and insulation to protect them against moisture. However, heavy rains can cause your outdoor AC pad to shift, whether from the strength of the water against it, erosion, or destabilizing mud. That, in turn, can introduce water to the unit’s electrical parts, causing short-circuiting.

Like dry windstorms, rainstorms can blow debris into your unit. When that debris is wet, though, it’s more likely to get stuck, and if you’re not proactive about clearing it, that can lead to breeding grounds for mold and bacteria. Heavy winds already can blow branches and shingles about, but when rainfall is added to the mix, the added pressure can force them free of trees and roofs. Essentially, there’s a higher chance that debris can make its way into your unit and damage the interior components, such as the fan blades and fins. Heavy rains may lead to drainage backup, which then can lead to stagnant water around your HVAC components, creating more opportunities for mold and water damage.

Heavy rains can damage indoor components such as the air handler, furnace, evaporator, and heat exchanger. If water comes into contact with the internal parts of the AC system, such as electronics, wiring, or motors, it can turn out catastrophic. Moisture can cause HVAC short-circuiting, while water accumulation can make the unit blow out. You might want to cover your HVAC unit with plastic sheeting or tarps to prevent water from getting in, but doing so can actually lead to condensation, lengthening the amount of time the parts spend wet. This can cause rubber parts to rot, metal components to corrode and rust, and your HVAC system to come out worse for wear.

Change in Temperatures

HVAC units are built to withstand huge temperature variances and still work even when the weather gets to its extremes. After all, if that wasn’t the case, you wouldn’t be able to cool your home during heat waves or keep warm when the temperatures drop. However, extreme temperatures can still affect the efficiency and reliability of your HVAC unit.

For example, when summertime temperatures are more than 100 degrees Fahrenheit, your cooling unit will have a hard time cooling spaces. As your HVAC parts work, they heat up, and using them for too long can negatively impact the system. Think of it like stress. Just like a person might feel burned out if they work as hard as they can for an extended period of time, your HVAC system can burn itself out when it’s run too long and the weather is too hot (or even too cold!).

When your system has to work harder to cool or heat your home, it consumes more electricity or gas, depending on its configuration and what climate you’re trying to get to. The same way you relax after hours of toiling, your unit will need to relax after hours of conditioning your home, and if you don’t give it the chance to do so, that could result in damage. Regardless of the model and size of the HVAC unit, when the temperatures are higher than it’s designed to typically handle, don’t run it continuously all day. Doing so runs the risk of your unit failing and becoming inefficient. It can also result in higher utility bills and energy consumption.

Ice and Snow

Ice and snow might look pretty, but they can also cause problems for your HVAC unit. Since snow can stick around after it’s fallen, its weight might end up bending your coil fins or aluminum fans, which puts stress on your system and can result in strange noises, inefficiency, and even full-on failure. If snow or ice melts as a result of your HVAC unit heating up to do its job, it might refreeze once the surrounding temperatures drop again. That might make the interior components stress against one another to try and move despite being frozen. Alternately, buildup can block airflow, which will force your system to work harder.

Don’t forget, either, that ice and snow are both made up of water. Sustained periods of contact with water can make components corrode and weaken, and any issues that might arise will find their way to those weak points. Experts recommend that the heat pump be kept free from ice and snow to efficiently draw air from all sections of the exterior AC system.

Heat pumps are designed with the power to defrost-cycle to remove ice and snow formed around them. However, when you allow ice and snow to amass around your heat pump, they could increase operating costs and decrease the unit’s overall durability. Another major effect of snow and ice on your HVAC unit is freezing pipes and rust buildup.

If you need your Burbank area HVAC system serviced or your AC repaired, reach out to the certified and reliable HVAC techs at Air Max HVAC. We’ve been building up HVAC experience and credibility in furnace maintenance and AC installations for years, wowing clients with our excellent electric furnace, AC, heat pump installation, and repair services. Our clients bet on the quality of our indoor air-boosting services. We’re have been accredited to install air purifiers, humidifiers, germicidal lights, dehumidifiers, and ventilation. Our techs also provide home energy audits, utility rebate appraisals, and indoor air quality audits. Call us today!