Don’t Let Your Outside HVAC Units Fall Victim to Curious Animals

A plan for effective HVAC-unit protection must always include safeguarding specific components from animals. In many cases, these units don’t get close scrutiny by homeowners, especially during winter weather, when animals are most likely to seek shelter inside any available space. Nevertheless, damage is ongoing and may result in system malfunctions.

These elements of your cooling and heating system are most likely to benefit from HVAC unit protection:

Outdoor A/C Unit

The central A/C condenser unit is typically located immediately behind the house or on one side. Its housing incorporates the system compressor, condenser coil, and fan, and it attracts shelter-seeking animals including squirrels, rats, and possums.

Intruding rodents are prone to gnaw insulation on wiring inside the unit, eventually causing electrical malfunctions. They may also bring in large amounts of leaves and twigs for nesting, which can eventually inhibit proper air circulation through the unit and coil.

To help secure the outdoor A/C housing, take these preventive measures:

  • Removable side panels and top grille provide access to internal components including the coil, the compressor, the fan, and the wiring. Make sure the screws securing these panels and the grille are tightened and that each panel is securely attached without any gaps that could admit animals.
  • Occasionally remove a side panel or the top fan grille and inspect the inside of the housing for leaves, litter, and other animal-nesting material that may be accumulating within. If you note any, call for qualified HVAC service to clean out the unit.

Furnace Vent Pipe

Usually terminating on the roof, the furnace vent pipe may present a nesting opportunity for birds as well as an attraction for squirrels.

Furnace vent pipes should have a vent cap with a screened opening to prevent animal entry. Check the pipe occasionally — you can use binoculars to avoid climbing up on the roof — for evidence that these safeguards have been breached or fallen off in weather.  If necessary, contact your HVAC contractor for repair.

A fixture in the Terre Haute community since 1922, the professionals at Paitson Bros. are ready with the expertise and equipment to ensure effective HVAC-unit protection.

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    Jeff Paitson Jeff Paitson is a third generation business owner who continues to run the business with the same values that have been passed down from previous generations since 1922.

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