A major storm swept through most the Northeast last week, and we weren’t spared. Storm Stella dropped heavy levels of snow on Massachusetts, Maine, New Hampshire, Ontario, and our own Vermont and New York region, with an average of two feet of snowfall. Schools shut down, flights were cancelled, and states of emergency were declared in some areas.
We hope you and your family weathered Stella’s assault in safety and that your home’s heating system worked steadily during the storm. Now that the weather has settled, it’s time to take stock of the situation and see if there are repairs necessary to restore you home and see that it’s ready in case of another March surprise.
Taking Care of a Heat Pump
If you use a heat pump to provide warmth to your house, you need to take a few extra steps with it in the wake of a major blizzard. This is because, unlike a furnace or boiler, a heat pump uses outdoor components as well as indoor components to operate. In order to provide heated air to a house, a heat pump must draw heat from the outside air using refrigerant, and then transport it indoors. Heavy snowfall can affect the outdoor unit of the heat pump, putting it at risk of inefficient operation and malfunctions. And since a heat pump also acts as a home’s air conditioning system, it needs to be cared for all through the year, even if there’s zero chance of more cold weather arriving before the summer.
The most important step to take to protect your heat pump after a storm is to clear the snow from around it. Remove any snow from on top of the unit and make sure that all snow within a foot is shoveled away. If snow blocks the grill of the unit, it will restrict the heat pump’s ability to draw thermal energy and make it harder for the system to deliver heat or work efficiently.
There’s an additional and more insidious danger as well from the snow around a heat pump: corrosion. If snow enters the cabinet, it can trigger rust in various components—and that includes the refrigerant coil. Corrosion is the surest way to significantly shorten a heat pump’s service life.
After you’ve cleaned off the heat pump, the next step is one that’s easy. It doesn’t even involve going outside! Contact our technicians and arrange for maintenance for your heat pump. A heat pump needs maintenance two times a year because it operates both as a heater and an air conditioner. But this year it’s particularly urgent to have a heat pump maintained because the blizzard might have caused damage to the system you won’t see. Our team will make sure that your heat pump is restored to top shape so it’s ready for any further cold—and for the summer heat ahead. (Yes, we’re looking forward to those days as well!)
If you need assistance with your heating in Plattsburgh, NY or in the Burlington, VT area, all you need to do is contact us. Our heating professionals are ready to assist you with whatever you need for comfort as well as preparations for future weather swings, both cold and hot.
Red Rock Mechanical LLC: Serving Northwest Vermont and Plattsburgh NY area for over 23 years.