Should I Worry About Snow Around My Heat Pump?

Should I Worry About Snow Around My Heat Pump

It’s quite a snowy day outside, and you look out your window, and there’s snow around the heat pump. Now you’re concerned about it because you aren’t sure about the safety of your heat pump. You should be wary of snow around the heat pump, but not so much. It all depends on the level of the storm and the type of pump you have. Each type of heat pump is affected differently. Visit to learn how to unfreeze them fast.

Types of Heat Pumps

Conventional Heat Pumps

The overall function of your heat pump is negatively affected when a heap of snow covers it. A pile of snow on your heat pump limits the quantity of air ready to circulate to the heating coil. Snow hinders the coolant’s ability to cool the air passing over the coils. In your home, low temperatures indicated on the thermostat make you activate the extra heat.

Ductless Heat Pumps

The airflow restriction is even worse in ductless mini-pumps. Why? Airflow restriction is due to the lack of supplemental heat. When there’s snow on the heat pump, the indoor fan eventually shuts because the defrosting mechanism runs longer. The moment this happens, you could feel cold air blowing through your house.

Once the fan of a ductless pump shuts down due to snow piling over it, it may take several hours before it can defrost or until the temperature sensor reads 40 degrees. Therefore, homes with ductless pumps should have an alternative heat source that they can utilize when snow is around the heat pump.

Clearing Snow off Heat Pumps

Using a shovel to remove a heavy pile of snow on your heat pump is risky because it can cause damage to the copper pipes on top of the condenser. When you are snowed in and can’t make your way to the heat pump, you may have to turn on an alternative heat source while waiting for the snow to clear.

Removing Snow from your External Heat Pump

An external heat pump is a vital machine. It keeps your home chilled and comfortable during the summer by expelling heat and cozy and warm during the winter by absorbing heat into your house. These heat pumps also control humidity in your living space. In summary, a heat pump is a source of comfort too.

For the million-dollar question, “Can I remove snow around my heat pump?” While snow is terrific for building snowmen and making snow angels, it could be a significant cause of alarm as it can cause harm to your heat pump when it piles on it.

Effect of snow heaps on your Heat Pump

Snow hinders a significant function of your heat pump. A heat pump absorbs heat from the external air. The parts inside your heat pump’s outdoor setup, with the assistance of the coolant system, carry out this function.

On the contrary, if snow heavily piles up your outdoor cabinet, the ability to absorb heat from the external air is hindered. Snow piles will affect your entire heat pump. Heavy snow could badly damage the heat pump.

Without drawing in the needed heat from the external air, the entire heat pump system could collapse. You may see that the air flowing into your house is a little warm. You could also notice that your heat pump uses more energy than it usually does to heat your home. Your heat pump system will experience failure and irreparable damage if this continues.

Importance of Clearing Snow around Heat Pump

Airflow is essential in a heat pump. For a heat pump to work effectively and sustain indoor air, your heat pump depends on unrestricted airflow. It works by absorbing heat from the air and taking it to a new location. When this unrestricted airflow is restricted, snow could heavily damage vital components of the heat pump.

You would appreciate a low electricity bill

Clearing snow around the heat pump reduces electricity bills. Most, if not all, heat pumps dissipate air upwards from the apex of the unit, which means that the top part of the unit must be clear of any obstructions such as snow to allow air to dissipate efficiently while using less energy to do so.

Therefore when the top of the unit has a heavy pile of snow, the energy required to dissipate this air upward will be much higher, and this will cost you more.

Precautions to Take when Clearing Around a Heat Pump

If you are clearing snow or ice from your outdoor heat pump, please take the following precautions:

  • Under no circumstance should you bend the metal fins that allow air to enter and exit the outside heat pump
  • Do not push the snow into the heat pump if you shovel the snow.
  • Make it a point to clear snowdrifts, dirt, and plants that are two to three feet close to your pump.
  • Look out for icicles; these icicles attach to trees. A 6-foot clearance above the external heat pump is necessary.
  • Do not attempt to remove ice buildup from any portion of your heat pump. We advise using a brush to gently remove snow from the unit. Otherwise, you risk causing significant damage to your pump.
  • If you fail to clear the snow from your unit, switch your system to “Emergency Heat” via the thermostat. The heat pump will shut down and engage the electric resistance heaters that’ll give heat to your home.


Using your heat pump in “Emergency Heat” mode is more expensive. Hence, you might want to have your heat pump in this mode for the shortest period possible, most likely a couple of days or so.

If snow piles are constant, we suggest you call Anderson Air. The company will assign a service technician to your home to assist you immediately to see to it that your heat pump is working again.

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