Air conditioners are designed to handle different weather elements, including snow falls. However, sometimes the snow falls become too much and begin to affect the AC, especially the outside unit housing the compressor. Here are the specific ways in which too much snow accumulation may affect your AC.
The major effect of snow accumulation on your AC unit is that it interferes with airflow. This is unfortunate because the compressor (outside unit) needs good air flow to dispense of the heat collected indoors. Decreased airflow will make the AC run hot, causing energy inefficiency and accelerating the AC's wear and tear.
Increased Risk of Corrosion
Another problem occurs when the snow and ice are allowed to sit on the unit for a long time, melting little by little and seeping into the unit. The damage will occur in the long run when the moisture induces rust in the metallic components of the unit and causes it to fail prematurely.
Increased Risk of Physical Damage
Your unit may also get damaged when you try to remove the accumulated snow and ice but fail to do it properly. For example, scraping ice or snow from the unit with a shovel can damage it because the fins are rather delicate.
Installing the Unit above the Ground
The first precaution is taken during the installation of the system; the outside unit is installed above the ground where normal snowfall won't reach it. Professional AC installers understand that this is a normal part of AC installation. However, the height of the unit above the ground may still reduce, say, after an earth movement.
Building a Physical Barrier
It also helps to build a physical barrier, like a fence, around the unit to limit the amount of snow that can fall on it. Just ensure that there is a reasonable distance between the AC and the barrier so that the barrier doesn't interfere with airflow and defeat the whole purpose of its installation.
Careful Removal of Snow
Lastly, you should be extremely careful when attempting to remove accumulated snow from the unit. Ideally, you should only remove some of the snow using a broom or a brush, allowing the remaining ones to melt away on their own.
Hopefully, your AC will not suffer damage as a result of snow accumulation. If your AC is struggling to handle different weather elements, then it's time to call an air conditioning repair technician for a diagnosis so that you can deal with the root of the problem once and for all.