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Fallen Leaves and HVAC Systems

HVAC Systems

The outdoor portion of your HVAC system contains two components that are essential for cooling your home; the condenser and compressor. Because the unit sits outside, it easy for miscellaneous yard debris to collect in and around the cabinet. Since most outdoor units are situated where they're the least visible, it's easy to forget to clear away the collected debris.

If you don't keep ahead of it though, a buildup of grass clippings, broken twigs and branches, seed pods and fallen leaves can cause serious issues including:

  • A drop in airflow through the condenser coil that slows the heat transfer process.
  • A corresponding increase in the compressor's workload, which can cause a breakdown or premature failure.
  • A decrease in the system's efficiency and an increase in your energy bills.


If you'd like to avoid the above-mentioned problems and keep your HVAC system in good operating condition, you should take the following actions:

  • Buy the unit its own fitted cover.Custom fitted covers keep out all kinds of dirt and debris, but they're also ventilated so there's less risk of rust forming due to condensation. Your HVAC pro can tell you what kind of cover is ideal for your cooling equipment brand and model.
  • Protect the unit during the winter.Shut down the unit's power supply via the outdoor shutoff switch and the circuit breaker in your electrical panel. Next, clear away any yard debris both inside and outside the cabinet, and put on the cover. Remember to remove the cover next spring and restore power to the unit before the start of the cooling season.
  • Add a year-round debris shield.To keep debris from getting inside the unit, invest in a washable screen filter. This kind of economical filter goes around the cooling fins, and it's very effective at keeping out debris without causing any airflow issues.

Visit our Valley Heating, Cooling, Electrical website for in-depth information on most HVAC topics, or to learn more about fallen leaves and your home's HVAC system, just give us a call at (408) 868-5500.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in the South Bay Peninsula and Santa Cruz areas of California about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).

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