How to Prepare Your HVAC Unit for a Snowstorm

Ensuring the efficiency of your HVAC system is extremely crucial during the cold winter months. Unfortunately, the winter weather is pretty erratic. A beautiful and peaceful snowfall can turn into a light dusting or blizzard without warning. When a snowstorm happens, the last thing you want to deal with is a problematic HVAC.

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Whether you have a furnace as your home’s heating system, there are several ways to winterize your HVAC unit to optimize its operational efficiency. Proper HVAC maintenance also helps reduce your energy bills and prolong your unit’s lifespan. Luckily, seasonal HVAC maintenance is quite easy to handle and comes with huge benefits.

How Snow Affects Your HVAC System

A snowstorm can cause snow and ice to accumulate on the exterior parts of your HVAC unit. The buildup of winter elements can cause the heating system to work much harder due to restricted airflow. This can result in a short circuit, shortening the lifespan of the system. In extreme cases where the snow and ice cover the outdoor unit completely, it can freeze the system and trigger an emergency shut-off.

  • Snow can block furnace vents such as air intake

The furnace works by drawing in air from outside, heating it, and circulating it throughout your home to keep you warm and comfortable. However, if snow starts to pile up, it can block the air intake of the furnace, causing the heating system to work harder. This can lead to a potential breakdown in the middle of a snowstorm.

  • Snow can obstruct the exhaust

Just as your furnace draws in outside air, it also blows air out of your home as part of the indoor air circulation process. Piled-up snow prevents the air from going out from the furnace’s exhaust, causing heat and pressure to build and potentially leading to a fire incident.

  • Snow can cause corrosion

The majority of furnace parts are made of metals. Exposure to too much moisture can corrode the metallic furnace components. The pile of snow sitting against or on top of the HVAC unit can lead to water damage and corrosion.

  • Snow can bend fans or fins

When snow turns to ice, it can put extra weight that can cause the fans in your outdoor HVAC unit to bend, which calls for a furnace repair.

Snowstorm Preparation Tips to Keep Your HVAC Working Efficiently

Be sure to check and change the furnace air filters whenever necessary

Your HVAC unit may be a durable piece of equipment, but just like others, it requires regular maintenance, especially when exposed to erratic winter weather.

Unexpected HVAC shutdown can be scary, but you can get through it with preventative maintenance to prepare your unit for extreme weather conditions. Here are some helpful tips to keep in mind.

  • Book an HVAC inspection

Without proper and regular maintenance, your HVAC may suddenly stop working. To keep your furnace in good shape all throughout the winter season, it is best to book an annual HVAC inspection and tune-up as early as fall. This ensures the smooth operation, efficiency, and top condition of your unit, especially when furnaces are working hard to heat homes.

A routine furnace checkup prevents the need for expensive repairs and keeps the unit working at optimal levels. The furnace inspector will look into the components of your heating system, from the electrical switches and belts to the motor, and repair minor issues. Annual furnace inspection is cost-effective and can help you save money in the future.

If you have already booked an HVAC inspection before winter starts, there is no need to re-book for an inspection. If your HVAC unit has not been serviced by a furnace technician, doing so now can make a huge difference between a warm and cozy winter and a nightmarish one.


  • Check Your Home’s Insulation

Keeping your home’s insulation in check helps your HVAC system run more efficiently. Look for drafty doors and windows and seal up cracks and gaps. Check the attic for sufficient insulation. Good insulation helps you save money on your energy bills and prevents your heating system from overworking during a snowstorm.

  • Inspect and Replace Filters

If the weather forecast reports an incoming snowstorm or blizzard, take time to check the condition of the filters and replace them if necessary. Air filters ensure clean indoor air flowing through the house, but they can eventually clog with dirt and debris. Clogged filters can make your heating system work extra and consume more energy to heat the air throughout your house.

Be sure to change the filters once every 2 months. However, if you live in the city, keep pets, or have a family member who smokes, replace filters every month. Regular air filter replacement keeps dirt, debris, and allergens from circulating throughout your living space.

  • Keep Vents Clear

Many homeowners tend to forget about the vents as part of their HVAC maintenance routine. The heated air passes through the vents and enters your indoor living space. That is why it is essential to keep them clear to ensure proper circulation. Placing furniture or drapes in front of the vents restricts airflow, which makes it difficult to achieve your desired indoor temperature. Blocked air vents can also cause frequent HVAC malfunctions, requiring more service calls and leading to a premature unit breakdown.

  • Invest in a Programmable Thermostat

Consider investing in a programmable thermostat

The thermostat displays the current temperature and enables you to set your desired temperature. However, if you have a manual thermostat, it can give you a false temperature. Installing a programmable thermostat has smart technology that allows you to regulate the indoor temperature more accurately and adjust the temperature settings accordingly. Additionally, it lets you preset various HVAC winter temperature settings and run them at specified times. A programmable thermostat also ensures energy-efficient operations of your heating system. The biggest benefit that comes with installing a programmable thermostat is it helps achieve better heating in your living space.

  • Get a Backup Generator

Power outages are a common problem during a snowstorm. To keep your heating unit working, consider getting a backup generator. To help you choose the best type of generator for your system, consult an HVAC technician for professional advice and guidance.

When it comes to HVAC systems, you can rely on the expert technicians at Abundant Air. To book a Winnipeg furnace installation, repair, or maintenance, call us at (204) 674-4568 or send us a message at