4 Ways An Unkempt Yard Can K.O. Your HVAC System

Yard work is tough and sometimes the last thing you'd want is to tangle with unkempt yard. But leaving your yard in its wild state could do some unseen damage to your HVAC system. Read on to learn how lax lawn care could easily result in some expensive repairs for your HVAC unit.

1. Stray Leaves

A few stray leaves here and there may look innocent enough, but they represent a seldom-noticed threat to your HVAC system's performance and longevity. Stray leaves that find their way near your outdoor HVAC cabinet can end up being sucked inside. Not only can stray leaves cut off airflow by clogging up the bottom edge of the cabinet, but they can also stick to the condenser coil itself, especially if those leaves are wet or damp.

To keep your HVAC system from being choked by stray leaves, make sure to corral any leaves you spot through raking or vacuuming. If you're thinking about using natural foliage to shade your HVAC unit, consider planting evergreen trees and shrubs that seldom lose their leaves.

2. Uncut Grass

Letting your lawn get wild and unruly can draw more than just the ire of the neighbors. Tall grasses can also block airflow to the outdoor HVAC cabinet, resulting in reduced performance and possible overheating. Regular mowing will help keep your HVAC cabinet clear of any obstructions that could be caused by uncut grass.

As you get ready to mow your lawn, keep these handy tips in mind to prevent any potential obstructions during and after your yard work:

  • When mowing near the outdoor HVAC cabinet, make sure the discharge chute is always pointed away from the cabinet.
  • If any grass clippings get inside of the cabinet, rinse the cabinet and condenser coil using your garden hose.
  • If you're using a weed trimmer, make sure to avoid contact with the cabinet and condenser coil.

You can also cut down the likelihood of grass clippings being sucked into the HVAC cabinet simply by using a lawn mower equipped with a grass catcher. If you don't have one available, use a rake to move as much debris from the HVAC cabinet as possible.

3. Fallen Branches

Trees and bushes that loom over your HVAC system can also cause problems, especially if they're not trimmed regularly. Fallen twigs and branches can drop through the condenser fan vent on the HVAC cabinet and hit the fan itself. The resulting contact can leave behind various dents and dings on the fan, which can have some subtle effects on the condenser fan's ability to create steady airflow. In a worst-case scenario, a large branch can jam the condenser fan and bring your HVAC system's operation to a dead stop.

Prevention is the key to keeping your HVAC system safe from airborne debris. Pruning nearby trees and bushes on a regular basis can help minimize the risk of fallen branches. It's also a good idea to keep bushes and other foliage at least 2 to 3 feet away from the HVAC cabinet's base.

4. Wild Roots

You can't predict where a tree's roots will go as it grows, but it's easy to foresee the potential for damage if they ever come near your HVAC system. Wild root growth can easily displace or even crack the concrete pad your HVAC unit sits on, resulting in severe damage to the unit.

Again, prevention is the key to protecting your HVAC unit from unruly roots. Installing root barriers can help deflect root growth before it encroaches upon the concrete pad. If the damage is already done, you may have to cut part of the offending root. Doing so could potentially harm the tree, so it's best to consult with an experienced arborist before taking action.

If you're planting new trees, make sure they're located far away from your HVAC unit that root growth doesn't become a problem.

For more information, reach out to an HVAC service company such as Apollo Heating & Air.