Should I turn off my mini split in a snow storm?

A bad snowstorm is in the forecast, and you have to admit, you’re quite nervous. You’ve already run out and bought supplies, and you’ve since battened down all the hatches to wait out the storm.

You don’t want to go without hot air during what will surely be some of the coldest days of the winter, but you also don’t want your ductless mini split system to get overburdened and possibly stop working.

Should you turn off your mini split in a snowstorm?

Not necessarily, but there are other things you should do instead. Here’s what we recommend.

Turn On Defrost Mode

Most mini splits include a defrost mode, which may or may not be activated by default.

Defrost mode is designed to prevent the accumulation of ice on the coils and other internal components of the mini split system.

How does this work? The mini split has a thermostat that monitors the temperature. If the temps are too close to freezing and thus the mini split components are at risk of freezing over as well, defrost mode activates and thaws out the components.

You need to run defrost mode all winter or your mini split will freeze, especially in the midst of a snowstorm.

To do so, find your condenser controls and look for the defrost setting. Make sure it’s powered on. The mini split will take care of the rest during this snowstorm and any subsequent snowstorm you may experience this winter.

Raise the Compressor

You have a slab of poured concrete for the compressor, but you could do more for it in the winter.

We recommend elevating the compressor several feet above ground level. This way, if you get significant snowfall–which is quite likely in a snowstorm–the compressor won’t be surrounded by a thick layer of snow.

When the compressor is covered in snow, it has to focus on melting the snow around it first and heating your home second. This can lead to fluctuations in heating efficiency and a colder home than normal.

You only need to lift the compressor about two feet up, which you can do with a wood crate or a thicker concrete slab.

Keep the Compressor Free of Snow

Of course, you have to worry about more than the compressor sitting in several feet of snow during a snowstorm but being blanketed in several feet of snow from the top as well.

Blocking the top components of the compressor can again limit the unit’s efficiency.

If the snow is coming down hard, it helps if you can go out mid-storm and sweep away the rapidly accumulating snow atop the compressor.

What if you can’t get out there? That’s fine, but don’t wait too long until after it stops snowing to brush the snow away. Your mini split will thank you!