How Leaves Affect HVAC Systems

Leaves and HVAC SystemsFall is officially here, and with that we get to experience the cooler weather and see the amazing change of colors around us. As beautiful as the leaves are as they turn from greens to oranges, yellows and reds, we also know that they will eventually be falling to the ground below. Unfortunately, falling leaves also bring with them new potential hazards to your homes HVAC system. It’s hard to believe that something so simple can wreak such havoc on an HVAC system; however, if you don’t protect your unit diligently, it could be in trouble.

The Problem with Fallen Leaves

The portion of your HVAC system that lives outside your home is a cabinet that contains the condenser coil and compressor. These components’ job is to expel latent heat that has been collected from inside your house. In order to do this, the cabinet also houses a powerful fan that draws cool air in from the sides and bottom of the unit. The warm air is then dispersed out through the top of the cabinet.

As you can see, air flow and circulation are critical for your outdoor HVAC cabinet to work properly. When leaves fall to the ground and accumulate at the bottom of the unit, they can block this crucial airflow, causing difficulty for your HVAC system to expel the latent heat.  As your HVAC has to work harder, it is no longer working efficiently. This leads to increased energy consumption, higher bills and potential damage to the condenser coil and compressor.

Protecting Your HVAC System in Fall

Protecting your outdoor HVAC unit is essential for preparing your home for fall and winter. Every home will likely have leaves, sticks, dirt, grass clippings, and other items gather up against the unit. The most important thing is to keep the condenser and the area that surrounds it free from any type of the debris. Make sure you:

  • Clear away any buildup of debris and trash from around the unit
  • Trim back vegetation and overhanging branches (within a minimum of 2 feet around the unit) to prevent leaves from falling though the vent fan.
  • Rake your yard regularly to keep it free from fallen leaves and other debris.
  • Make sure you inspect and keep the HVAC cabinet clean. If any leaves or debris are found inside, use an air compressor to blow them out.
  • Protect your HVAC unit with a cover when it’s not in use.

Energy.gov reports that heating and cooling accounts for more than half the energy use in a typical US home, so it’s important to keep it working as efficiently as possible!

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No matter which HVAC system you have, every unit needs a quality filter that fits properly in order to keep your indoor air quality clean and your unit running at its maximum efficiency this Fall. US Home Filter can supply you with the best and most efficient HVAC filter available! Changing the filter is as important as changing the oil in your car and US Home Filter makes filters that fit all AC/HVAC units. From standard to custom air filters, to whole-house filters, grille filters and humidifier filters, we have all of your filter needs covered!

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