This past weekend, winter storm Jonas dropped well over two feet of snow in much of the Northeast and at Oliver, we were getting calls left and right because of it. One of the most popular issues in the area was a heater that simply stopped working, which can happen during a snowstorm. Here are four ways the snow can affect your heater:
Block Air Intakes
Our on-call managers fielded many questions about shut-down heaters due to snow that had piled up and blocked their fresh air intakes. When your heater’s intake is blocked due to snow or ice, it causes the unit to shut down.
While heaters need to take in fresh air in order to operate properly, they also need to expel air through an exhaust. If their exhaust gets blocked due to snow or ice, it can also cause the unit to shut down.
Gas furnaces and boilers both have controls that can be susceptible to water damage, especially during heavy rains or when snow starts to melt. If these elements experience enough water, they’ll begin to corrode and could cause reliability issues.
On some occasions, snow and ice could build up on your unit’s aluminum fan and coil fins. When this happens, the weight of the build-up could cause them to bend and eventually break. If you notice a loud sound while your heater is on, bent fins could be why.
How to Prevent Damage
If you know you’re going to get a snowstorm, be sure to include clearing the air intakes, exhaust, and space around outdoor heat pump units in your snow removal plan. Also make sure that after bad weather, there isn’t snow or ice accumulated on the top of the outdoor unit of your heat pump or air conditioner. If there is, turn off the unit and use warm water to melt it away. After it’s clear, turn it back on.