The weather in Fox Valley, Wisconsin can go from below-zero temperatures in the winter to heat waves reaching the triple digits in the summer. The following are some of the ways these swings in weather conditions can have an impact on your HVAC system.
Cold Weather and Dust Buildup
When outside temperatures are cold, your system needs to work harder to circulate air in your home in order to maintain a warm indoor temperature. As this happens, it collects a larger amount of dust and debris.
Debris build-up impairs the performance of your unit and leads to unnecessary wear on its components. It is recommended that your HVAC system be maintained annually by the technicians at Black-Haak in order to prevent these issues. You should also check your air filter monthly during the coldest parts of the year and replace it as needed.
During your annual inspection, HVAC technicians will clean the inside of your air registers. Having a professional review and inspect your HVAC system before the cold weather ensures your unit is properly prepared for winter.
Excess Strain on Your System
During the normal winter weather, you might be able to reduce your energy costs by setting your thermostat a little bit lower at night or when you are not at home. However, during frigid temperatures during an event like a polar vortex, this strategy will not work.
When outdoor temperatures are 20° below zero, your indoor temperatures will likely drop so low that your unit has to struggle to bring your house up to a comfortable temperature.
During the most frigid days, set your programmable thermostat to keep your home at around 70°. You can also use an energy-saving thermostat to ensure your home’s temperature is within two or three degrees of 70°F.
It can be tempting to turn your unit off, let the temperature drop at night, and then turn the thermostat up the following day. However, if your unit is undersized or older, it will struggle to reach and maintain ideal temperatures during extremely cold weather.
If you set the temperature too high, your HVAC will run constantly, which can ruin specific components of the unit. Setting the thermostat at or slightly above your standard winter temperature settings is better. The house might feel chilly, but you are protecting your unit. This minimizes the chances it will give out on you in the future.
How Weather Can Affect Your Air Conditioner’s Performance
It should not be surprising that the outside temperature impacts the performance of your air conditioner. After all, outdoor weather is the reason why you are using an air conditioning system in the first place. The best way to keep your air conditioner running its best all year round is to schedule annual professional AC repair and maintenance with Black-Haak.
When the outside temperatures are mid-range, your AC unit uses the heat exchanger to remove the heat inside your home and transfer it outside. However, when outdoor temperatures are scorching, your compressor is responsible for most of the work of cooling the air in your home. Understandably, the hotter it is outside, the harder your AC unit has to work.
If your air conditioning unit is older or needs maintenance, it will be more challenging to keep up with hotter temperatures. An extreme heat wave could push an air conditioning unit that is on its last legs over the edge, leading to a complete systems failure. There are few things worse than suffering through sweltering heat with a disabled air conditioning unit.
Outside Temperatures Affect an Air Conditioner’s Efficiency
Hot outdoor temperatures mean that your air conditioning has to work harder, requiring more energy to perform as you want it to. This affects your air conditioner’s energy consumption rate, creating larger utility bills.
Air conditioners are given a Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER) rating. This rating gives you an idea of the efficiency level you should expect from your unit when it is operating at peak efficiency and under optimal conditions. The higher the unit’s SEER is, the better it will work in hotter temperatures. A unit with a SEER of 14 is considered efficient. One with a rating of 18 or higher is a high-efficiency unit.
How Extreme Weather Can Damage Your Air Conditioning Unit
Extreme weather can damage the outdoor components of your AC system. High winds, hail, and heavy rains can damage the metal casing of the outdoor units. Tornadoes are common in Wisconsin, and they can completely demolish your AC unit either by removing it from its foundation or pelting it with fallen branches and debris. Your outdoor unit’s electrical system can also be ruined by a lightning strike.
It is impossible to prevent all acts of nature that can impact your HVAC system. However, you can take steps to protect your AC during a storm by covering the outdoor unit using a tarp designed to protect AC units from wind, rain, and hail.
How Extremely Cold Weather Can Impact a Heat Pump’s Efficiency
Heat pumps are a popular HVAC option in Greenville, Wisconsin. This is because they don’t burn fossil fuels to generate heat but rely on transferring outdoor heat inside the home.
Country to popular belief, newer heat pumps can warm a house efficiently even if the outdoor temperatures are below 10°F. At this point, high-quality heat pumps are more energy efficient than boilers or furnaces.
Cold climate heat pumps have refrigerants with lower boiling points than traditional units. These refrigerants can draw more heat energy from cold air and continue to flow through the system at lower temperatures.
Manufacturers have refined heat pump compressors to reduce the energy required for optimal operation during cold weather. Variable-speed compressors can run slower during moderate climates and switch to higher speeds during extreme temperatures. Shedding the all-or-nothing approach for a progressive system, variable-speed heat pumps can draw the right amount of energy to keep indoor spaces comfortable regardless of the outdoor temperature.
Heat pumps do have some limitations. When temperatures dip below -20°F, even the most optimized heat pump will have difficulty keeping a home warm. For this reason, many Wisconsin residents opt for a furnace and a heat pump. They enjoy the energy savings of a heat pump when outdoor temperatures are within the functioning range of the unit. When things get too cold, they can switch on their furnace to ensure their home stays warm all year.
HVAC Service without Breaking Your Bank in Greenville
At Black-Haak, we have been servicing communities in the Fox Valley area for decades. We proudly offer emergency repairs backed by licensed, insured HVAC, electrical, and plumbing professionals. We have an A+ Better Business Bureau rating and are pleased to offer a wide range of home comfort solutions.
Our services include HVAC installation, service, maintenance, and repair. We provide general plumbing repairs and installation of water softeners, water filtration systems, and water heaters. Our electrical team works with lighting, wiring, generators, and more. Contact Black-Haak today to see why we are the team homeowners turn to for their maintenance, installation, and repair needs.