Should you Remove Snow from your External Heat Pump?

Dec 20, 2021

Removing Snow from your External Heat Pump

Your external heat pump is an extremely important piece of equipment. It is responsible for keeping your home cool and comfortable during the summer – by removing heat – and warm and toasty in the winter – by pulling heat into your home. External heat pumps also provide humidity control in all your living spaces. Put simply, a heat pump can be the answer to your home comfort needs.

So, you might be asking yourself, “Should I remove snow from my external heat pump?

As we all know, the Tri-Cities gets its share of snow during most winter seasons. And while the snow makes for beautiful scenery and is fun to play in, it has the potential to create havoc with your heat pump if it is allowed to accumulate.

Potential Damage to Heat Pump from Snow Accumulation

Snow Compromises Main Function of Heat Pump

Your heat pump absorbs heat from the outdoor air. It is the components inside the heat pump’s outdoor cabinet that perform this function, with the aid of the refrigerant system. However, if your outdoor cabinet is blanketed with snow and ice, its capability to absorb heat from the outside air is significantly restricted. This will have a negative impact on the operation of your heat pump system.

Heat Pump Could Reach Breaking Point if Snow Accumulates

Without being able to absorb the necessary amount of heat from the outside air, your heat pump system could begin to falter. You might observe that the temperature of the air flowing into your house is lukewarm. You will also find that your heat pump is using a lot more energy than it should to heat your living spaces. If this continues, your heat pump system will experience malfunctions and eventually break down.

Importance of Clearing Off your Heat Pump

Importance of Air Flow for your Heat Pump

In order for it to work properly and to adequately treat the indoor air year-round, your heat pump relies on the free flow of air. It operates by pulling heat from the air and moving it to a new location. If the airflow is impeded, such as by heavy amounts of snow, the vital components housed in the outdoor unit could be damaged.

You will more than likely receive higher utility bills because your heat pump is working much harder to relocate air.

The vast majority of heat pumps discharge air in an upward direction from the top of the unit. This area must be clear of snow, as well as ice, in order for air to discharge smoothly and easily.

Precautions to Take when Removing Snow from your HVAC

When you do prepare to clear snow from your outdoor heat pump, take the following precautions:

  • Do not bend the metal fins that enable air to enter and leave the outdoor unit.
  • When you shovel snow, be sure you don’t push the snow into the unit.
  • Make sure you remove snowdrifts, along with debris and vegetation, that is located within two to three feet of the equipment.
  • You will also want to eliminate icicles, especially icicles that are attached to eaves and trees. There should be at least a 6-foot clearance above the external heat pump.
  • Be aware that you don’t want to try to forcefully remove ice buildup from any portion of the heat pump. It is best to use a broom or brush to eliminate snow and ice that is on the unit. Otherwise, never attempt to chisel ice from the heat pump. You run the risk of causing major damage.
  • If you are unable to clear the snow and ice from your unit, change the system to “Emergency Heat” at the thermostat. This will result in shutting down the heat pump and engaging electric resistance heaters that will distribute heat into your home.
  • You will find that operating your heat pump in this manner will be considerably more expensive. As a result, you would want to keep your heat pump in this mode for only a short period of time, maybe several days or so.
  • If there is still snow accumulation on your heat pump, we advise you to call Apollo and a service technician will come out and resolve the issue so your heat pump is working perfectly again.

Look to Apollo Heating and Air Conditioning to Provide Heating Service, Repair & Installs

Apollo Heating and Air Conditioning is a Factory Authorized Carrier Dealer and, as a result, we can provide you with expert service and installs for heat pumps at your home.
Apollo offers a great selection of dependable, time-tested products, that include heat pumps, for your home energy system.

So if you need any service done on your heat pump, or HVAC in general, we invite you to give us a call. At Apollo, we understand that the function of your heating system is a high priority. That is why we are committed to exceptional service and repair of your HVAC system to ensure it works flawlessly this winter.

Learn more by contacting Apollo Heating and Air Conditioning! Call us at (509) 396-COLD (2653).