As autumn arrives and leaves start collecting on the ground, it’s time to think about fall yard maintenance. You might not think so, but leaf litter can actually have a negative impact on your HVAC system, which can potentially lead to heating problems during the winter. Here’s what to know and what you can do to prevent your system from becoming damaged.
Leaf litter might seem like just a cosmetic issue, but it can actually cause a lot of problems as it starts to pile up in the fall. Not only does it attract insects and wildlife to nest near your home, it can also cause your system to malfunction.
If you’re not actively preventing leaf litter from accumulating around your yard, you could have to deal with things like this in the future:
Your furnace intake pipes are how your system gets oxygen for the combustion process and to push heated air throughout your home. When these are located outside, they can easily become blocked by piles of leaves collecting against the side of your house.
If this happens, it becomes an emergency since exhaust fumes could back up into your home and cause carbon monoxide poisoning.
Exhaust pipes are incredibly important and work to vent poisonous gases away from your home. The same thing can happen if they’re blocked – your furnace can no longer push toxic air out, so it begins to back up into your home.
If either pipe is blocked, it’s critical that you shut off your system immediately and clear the blockage. You can also call a qualified New York HVAC technician to help.
Your system’s outdoor unit contains its compressor, which compresses refrigerant vapor and transfers heat from the refrigerant to the rest of the system. When leaves build up out here, they’re often wet, sticky, and cling to the “fins” on the outside of the unit.
You might not think this is an issue when your condenser isn’t being used in the winter, but it can introduce mold, fungus, and bacteria growth inside your unit. Then, when you turn it on again in the spring, all of that gets pumped into your home where you can breathe it for extended periods.
It’s important to take steps to keep your yard free of fallen leaves throughout the autumn season to protect your HVAC system and help keep it in good working condition. Here are some easy ways to get started:
- Invest in a leaf blower. If you have a lot of trees around your home, a leaf blower is a good investment. You can easily keep leaves from accumulating in your yard without bending or stooping, but if you don’t have one, you should still rake your yard about every week.
- Rake away from your intake and exhaust pipes. Leaf litter contains a lot of unwanted bacteria and microbes that can be “sprayed” into the air that your pipes bring into your home, creating the same problem as above. If you rake away from your intake, you can prevent droplets containing toxic particles from being escorted directly into your house.
- Cover your pipes and condenser. Consider covering your condenser with tarp or a specially designed cover for the winter to prevent leaf litter and from accumulating and creating a favorable environment for microbes. You can also install an awning of sorts over your exhaust and intake pipes so the leaves collect on it instead of the pipes. This keeps them clear for air intake and makes the leaves easier to remove.
As winter approaches, you need to be proactive about maintaining your yard and HVAC system in good shape so it can last as long as possible before needing a repair or replacement. A good way to do that is with regularly scheduled maintenance.
Having your heating and cooling system professionally serviced can help you diagnose any issues early on before they become bigger problems. There’s less chance of something going wrong in the dead of winter, when you really need your heating system to work, if you have an HVAC contractor check its components before the season really kicks into gear.
Jones Services provides comprehensive maintenance and repair services for HVAC systems in New York and can help make sure your furnace or other heating source is ready for the cold weather to come. Contact us today to learn more or to schedule a time for one of our technicians to come to your home for a quote by calling (845) 295-1776.