Colorado’s spring winds are formidable, capable of unsettling both homes and their vital HVAC systems. Even though these winds are a welcome sign of warmer weather to come, it’s best to prepare for their arrival and take proper precautions to ensure that your HVAC system is safe from potential damage.

Understanding the Impact of Spring Winds

During the spring, the jet stream shifts from its winter to summer location, causing windy conditions. For some unknown reasons, it is powerful in Colorado.

Increased Strain on Your HVAC System

Strong winds can significantly strain your system, forcing it to work harder than necessary. The primary issue arises from the increased workload. If your system is set to heating or cooling, strong winds can counteract its efforts by introducing hot or cold air from outside through leaks and cracks. In other words, conditioning your indoor and outdoor spaces is way above its capability.

Damage to Your Outdoor Unit

Strong winds can carry and blow debris like leaves, twigs, and dust directly into the outdoor unit of your HVAC system. These obstructions can cause substantial damage to the fan and the coil, which are vital components responsible for heat transfer and air circulation. If left unchecked, this can result in costly repairs or complete system replacement.

Short Cycling

Strong winds can cause rapid temperature changes, prompting your system to short cycle. Short cycling means your system turns on and off frequently, leading to unnecessary strain and increasing energy consumption. This constant switching can also damage your HVAC system’s compressor and other mechanical components.

Noise and Vibration

Extreme winds can make the outdoor unit vibrate more, causing noise and potential component misalignment over time. Your system will experience decreased efficiency, and its overall lifespan will be shortened.

Higher Energy Bills

Any disruption to regular system operation, such as increased strain or short cycling, can lead to higher energy usage and, thus, higher bills. Energy waste can become a significant financial burden, especially when you use your HVAC system more frequently during extreme weather conditions.

Preventive Measures

Here are some ways you can be preventative and protect against strong winds.

Regularly Trim Branches and Shrubs Around the Outdoor Unit

Overhanging branches threaten your system, potentially shedding debris directly onto the unit and impeding proper airflow. Regular trimming, especially before solid winds hit, can prevent potential damage and maintain adequate ventilation for your outdoor unit.

Remember to keep at least a two-foot clearance around the unit to allow for proper air circulation and easy access for maintenance. Also, identify branches that seem particularly close or brittle and take preemptive action to avert a potential crisis.

Check and Tighten Loose Elements on the Outdoor Unit

Wind exposure can loosen bolts, screws, and panels on the outdoor unit. You can work closely with a technician to assess and tighten loose elements. While doing so, you can ask them to check and, if needed, straighten the condenser fins (the metal pieces that protect the coils). Strong winds can bend them, significantly reducing their effectiveness.

Invest in Windbreaks

Strategically planting windbreaks near the unit can significantly reduce the force of direct winds. Fast-growing vines like English Ivy and Virginia Creeper are great options if you don’t want to wait long for results. You could also use a fence, lattice, solid wind panels, or wind deflection boards for a more immediate solution.

Cover the Unit During Storms

A weatherproof cover is a simple and effective defense when forecasts call for extreme wind or precipitation. Remove it promptly once the storm subsides to avoid a moisture trap.

Moreover, ensure that your cover is specifically designed to protect HVAC units. It must be well-ventilated and have secure fastenings to prevent flying away or damage to the unit itself. Also, be sure to monitor the temperature inside the unit to avoid overheating.

Aftermath of Strong Winds Maintenance Tips

After a strong wind storm, you need to have your system inspected.

Inspect and Clean Air Filters

Clean air filters are the unsung heroes of a healthy and efficient HVAC system. They actively trap dust, dirt, pollen, pet dander, and other particles the wind brings into your home. Airflow is inhibited when they become clogged or dirty, and your system’s overall efficiency drops. In severe cases, part of your HVAC, like the blower fan, may fail, resulting in costly repairs.

Check Ductwork for Leaks

Gaps or leeks in the ductwork can cause significant energy losses, especially when your system is working harder than usual to keep up with changing weather conditions. Strong winds can blow open loose duct connections or even deposit outdoor debris into the ducts.

Indoor Air Quality Management

Along with cleaning or actively replacing your air filters, investing in air purifiers during spring and summer can help improve your home’s indoor air quality. These units help filter out pollen, microbial contaminants, and other allergens circulating in the air.

Also, use humidifiers or dehumidifiers to control moisture levels in your home. Humidity is often unpredictable in spring, especially when winds can easily deposit or remove moisture indoors.

Granted, be strategic about how you open your windows. Avoid opening windows when the wind is high, as this can let in outdoor pollen and other allergens. On calmer days, open your windows for short periods to increase ventilation and fresh air.

Monitor Thermostat Settings

Spring can deliver temperatures that range across the spectrum, but using your thermostat wisely can save you energy and money. On warmer days, consider keeping your thermostat at a higher temperature to reduce the workload on your system. When cooler days hit, adjust accordingly.

Consider investing in a programmable thermostat to adjust temperatures automatically based on your schedule. Smart thermostats can save money by reducing unnecessary heating or cooling when no one is home.

Work With a Professional HVAC Technician

Steps like changing filters, visually inspecting air ducts for debris or mold, and dusting vents are pretty straightforward and can be done by most homeowners. However, it’s essential to collaborate with a professional HVAC technician to address and resolve any potential issues effectively.

HVAC professionals have seen it all and understand the specific challenges of Colorado’s climate. They can easily spot potential problems and provide necessary repairs or maintenance to ensure your system is functioning at its best.

Additionally, many manufacturers stipulate regular professional maintenance as a condition for honoring warranties. By working with one of our HVAC technicians, you can avoid voiding your warranty and potentially save on costly repairs down the line.

Contact Premier Heating and Air Today for Maintenance and Repair Services

If you live around Denver, in the metro area of Colorado, call Premier Heating and Air today for HVAC preventative and regular maintenance services. We’ll help make your system foolproof to withstand challenging weather conditions while keeping your energy bills in check. We also install heat pumps and provide indoor air quality solutions.

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