It's no secret that a nice and tidy yard will always improve your home's curb appeal. What you might not notice is that it can also help your HVAC system remain in peak condition. Poor yard care can have as much of a negative impact on your system's overall performance as a clogged air filter or a dirty evaporator coil.

Read on to learn how lawn upkeep affects your HVAC system, along with several tips for keeping your system in great shape.

How Yard Work Affects Your HVAC System

As you take care of your yard, you want to make sure it's done as cleanly as possible. Sloppy yard maintenance can have an unexpected impact on how your HVAC system functions. For instance, leftover grass clippings can get sucked up into the outdoor cabinet while in operation, clogging the bottom of the unit with debris and cutting off the unit's airflow. Fallen leaves and branches can also find their way into the outdoor cabinet, striking and potentially damaging the condenser fan in the process.

Skipping out on yard care can be just as dangerous for your HVAC system. When left unmanaged, weeds and tall grasses growing in close proximity to the outdoor cabinet can severely undercut or even completely block airflow to the HVAC system. Uncontrolled vegetation, especially from nearby shrubs, bushes and trees with large root systems, can shift or otherwise damage the concrete pad the outdoor cabinet sits on.

Either way, the end result is an HVAC system that may not be able to keep your home and comfortable temperatures as effectively as it ideally would. An untidy yard cannot only make your HVAC system work harder than necessary, but it could also lead to a shorter lifespan for your heating and cooling equipment.

Tips for Protecting Your HVAC System

Your yard work shouldn't be an issue for your HVAC system, but only if it's done correctly. There are plenty of precautions you can take to ensure that caring for your lawn doesn't hurt your system in the process:

  • Cover up your HVAC system before you cut - If you need to mow grass or trim weeds around the outdoor cabinet, it's a good idea to cover the cabinet with a thick, high-quality tarp. Don't forget to keep your HVAC system off while you have it covered up.
  • Bag up your grass clippings - It's also good idea to use a lawn mower that comes with a bag attachment. Using a bag attachment can help reduce the amount of grass clippings left over on your lawn, which in turn reduces the likelihood of those clippings entering your HVAC system.
  • Always check for leftover debris - You can never be too sure about whether or not there is any debris left behind. You should always double check the outdoor cabinet before turning your HVAC system back on.

Preventive Steps to Consider

Prevention is just as important as being proactive when it comes to protecting your HVAC system, especially as you carry out your yard work. One preventive step you can take is to prevent vegetation from growing near your outdoor cabinet in the first place. Most experts recommend maintaining a two- to three-foot buffer on all sides between your HVAC system and nearby plants and vegetation. Talk to HVAC pros at companies like Dick  Kearsley Service Center to learn more.

If you're using natural plants as shade for your outdoor HVAC cabinet, consider using plants that don't shed their leaves during the fall and winter months. You should also maintain a five-foot vertical barrier between your HVAC system and plants growing above the unit, as this will minimize the likelihood of branches and twigs falling into the unit.