How Extreme Cold Affects Your Appliances
Winter weather can have an effect on your appliances, especially when temperatures are below freezing. Here are some ways you can help prevent problems.
Your washing machine is vulnerable to extreme cold, especially if it sits against a poorly insulated, outside-facing wall, like in the garage or basement. The water in the hoses and pumps can freeze, causing the water intake valve to break. To prevent this, you can disconnect your water lines from the wall when you're not using the machine or wrap your washer's hoses with pipe insulation.
If you have a second fridge or freezer in the garage or basement, it's important to prep it for freezing temperatures. You can use a space heater in your garage or basement on those extremely cold days (only when you're home). You can also disconnect or insulate the hoses if you have an ice maker and the appliance is connected to a water supply.
If your HVAC unit becomes encased with ice and snow, it can trigger an emergency shut-off. If you're not around to notice that the heat is off, the pipes can become frozen and broken, causing serious water damage. To prevent this, build a firewall. Place the unit in an area where there is a minimal chance of getting covered by snow or snowdrifts. If it's in an area that does get a lot of snow, place the condenser on a platform to raise it higher. Consider building a fence or wall around the unit, making sure there is enough airflow on all sides.
You can also clear the area by shoveling around the HVAC unit and making sure that your gutters aren't leaking water onto the unit.