How Do Leaves Affect Your HVAC System?

With the change in seasons come new threats to your HVAC system. One such threat comes in the form of fallen leaves. It’s hard to imagine that fallen foliage could give your HVAC system so much trouble, but it can happen if you’re not diligent about outdoor HVAC unit protection.


The Trouble With Fallen Foliage


Your HVAC system’s outdoor cabinet, which contains the condenser coil and compressor, is tasked with expelling latent heat collected from inside your home. To accomplish this, your outdoor cabinet uses a powerful fan to draw cool air from the bottom and sides of the unit, which it then uses to disperse warm air through the top of the cabinet.

With this setup, it’s easy to see how fallen leaves can impact your HVAC system. Leaves that pile up at the bottom of the unit can choke off crucial airflow, making it difficult for your HVAC system to disperse latent heat. Such blockages can also cause a noticeable drop in HVAC system efficiency, making your unit use more energy for declining levels of performance.

Airflow blockages caused by fallen leaves can even damage portions of your HVAC system, including the condenser coil and A/C compressor.


How to Protect Your HVAC System


Outdoor HVAC unit protection is essential for keeping your heating and cooling system in great shape this fall. Fortunately, there are plenty of proactive steps you can take to keep your unit safe:

  • Regularly rake your yard of fallen leaves and other debris. Keep raked leaves bagged up to prevent the wind from blowing them everywhere.
  • Thoroughly inspect and clean your outdoor HVAC cabinet. Use compressed air to blow out any leaves and debris found within.
  • Trim back overhanging limbs to keep leaves from falling through the fan vent.
  • Use an HVAC cover to protect your unit when it’s not in use.

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