When I moved into my first place, I couldn't believe how dirty everything was all the time. I found myself dusting and mopping continuously, only to deal with a fresh layer of grime later. After awhile, I realized that the problem was blowing straight out of my air ducts. My ventilation lines were so dirty that it was spreading grime through my house every single time the air clicked on. Fortunately, I called an HVAC contractor who was able to clean my vents to a gleaming shine. I know how big of a difference cleaning up your ventilation system can make, which is why I want to spread the word.
Homeowners in the Northern United States, including in snowy New England, are now able to heat their homes with heat pumps, thanks to technological advancements that improve efficiency. The Boston Globe reports that heat pumps are capable of keeping homes warm in temperatures as cold as minus 20°F. Heat pumps still, however, won't work if air can't freely flow around them. If you live in a New England and are using a heat pump to heat your home, make sure you brush snow off of it after any blizzards, or else it might freeze up.
New Technology, but Still the Same Concept
As The Boston Globe notes, there are several specific advancements that make new heat pumps more efficient than older models were. The list of improvements includes the following:
Despite these improvements, however, the concept behind heat pumps remains the same. They extract heat from the air outside and direct it inside. The temperature exchange is now more efficient than it ever has been, which is why some models are able to extract heat even when the temperature is below freezing.
However, no heat pumps, regardless of how efficient they are, work without adequate air flow, because the air provides heat for them to extract. Without fresh air moving around, there is no heat to be extracted.
Snow Can Inhibit Airflow
In the Southern United States, airflow issues are fairly uncommon. Once in awhile, leaves or grass clippings might block air from moving around a heat pump and need to be hosed off, but that is about the only airflow issue homeowners must deal with. Any snowfall tends to be minimal and quickly melts, so it doesn't significantly impede the pump's air circulation.
In New England, where some areas see over 100 inches of snow, homeowners face a unique airflow problem during winter. Several feet of snow can fall during a blizzard and block the heat pump's airflow.
Prevent Your Heat Pump from Freezing Up
To keep a heat pump working after a snowstorm, you'll have to clear snow from off and around it. At the very least, you'll need to brush snow off the top of the unit and dig snow out from the sides of it. If you aren't able to do this for a little while, the pump might begin to freeze up. To fix this, you'd also have to run the heat pump's defrost cycle.
Alternatively, if you don't want to go out and clear snow off your heat pump after each storm, you could build a shelter for it. Any shelter you make should prevent snow from building up on the unit but also let air circulate through the shelter. One design that works is to build a two-sided plywood structure with a top. If the two sides face the wind, they and the top will block most of the snow from accumulating around your pump. At the same time, the two open sides will let air move around your pump.
If you live in New England and heat your home with a heat pump, don't let it freeze up in a blizzard. Keep it working well and your home warm by preventing snow from blocking the pump's air flow. You can either brush it off and dig it out after each storm or build a two-sided shelter. Be prepared to do one or the other when it snows. For more information on heat pumps, check out a company like Actionaire Inc.