Heating and air-conditioning devices are designed to cool a property’s interior based on the typical temperature in the area. Summers in Greenville and the surrounding areas have average high temperatures of about 90 degrees Fahrenheit, and winters have average low temperatures of about 45 degrees Fahrenheit. When temperatures are much above or below average, heating and air-conditioning machines have to work much harder, and in extreme cases, they may stop working entirely.

Why Do Heating and Air Conditioning Units Fail in Cold Weather?

A Power Deficit
Many places that do not encounter cold temperatures on a regular basis are unprepared for such weather. As we saw in Winter 2021, Austin, Texas is the perfect example of this. Austin saw frigid conditions that are believed to occur just once every 100 years, and the damage was massive. Austin, Texas infrastructure was unprepared for the frigid temperatures, resulting in widespread power outages.

In Greenville, almost all gas heating systems still require electricity to work. If it is not believed that electricity will be restored in a fair amount of time, preparations should be made to prepare the home. To further prepare for potential power and heat outages, read our blog “How to Winterize Your Heat Pump.” In temperatures below 32 degrees, losing heat increases the risk of pipes freezing.

Problems with Heat Pumps
During the winter months, cold weather, snow, and ice all pose a threat to your HVAC system’s heat pump. Heat pump problems are most common in the winter as a result of debris and ice. If debris clogs your heat pump coils, the compressor may overheat and fail. Debris near the heat pump can also obstruct the airflow required to dry ice coils, resulting in corrosion and other problems. If your HVAC system isn’t operating but the house is still powered, you should check the condenser fan outside. If the blades aren’t moving, there could be a problem with the unit. You could also listen for the sound of the condenser engaging. Rattling and loud bangs could indicate an issue with the compressor motor.

Problems with Heat Pumps
Unlike in other parts of the country, such as the Northeast, many central heating and air conditioning units in South Carolina use a heat pump rather than a furnace. Most homes and businesses in Greenville use furnaces, although heat pumps are used in more remote regions. Simply put, heat pumps do not perform well in really cold conditions. Several issues can arise with an HVAC system’s heat pump, but the most common issue that might result in a unit shutdown is a frozen heat pump or a heat pump that is not draining.

Heat pump HVAC systems frequently incorporate an automatic defrost option. This mode melts the ice that has formed on the coils. Frost on a heat pump is common, but defrost cycles should remove it. If you have more than a quarter-inch of frost or ice on your heat pump coil, you may have an issue that requires the services of a repair professional. If the frost does not melt and spread throughout the unit, the unit is not functioning properly.

Heat pumps may be an afterthought for most homeowners, but after what we saw in Austin last winter, they shouldn’t be. If you believe your system’s heat pump is old and may require a Greenville HVAC repair or replacement, contact Stan’s right away. Learn more about some frequently asked questions about heat pumps from our clients here: Heat Pump FAQs.

Why Do Air Conditioning Units Stop Working in Hot Weather?
Cold weather can cause an air conditioner to shut down completely, while hot weather rarely does. AC units in Greenville frequently struggle to “keep up” with the scorching weather during the summer months. This means they do not cool the room to the temperature set on the thermostat. Learn more about why air conditioners struggle to keep up in hot weather by reading on.