Here in Virginia, we are no strangers to hurricane season. While you may be well aware of what precautions to take to protect your family – stocking up on non-perishable foods, buying batteries, and boarding up windows – there are also precautions you should take to protect your HVAC system. By taking steps before the storm hits and afterward, you minimize system damage and help safeguard your family and home.
Preparing Your HVAC Unit Before a Hurricane
Below is a list of steps you can take before the storm even hits to work towards minimizing the damage caused to your HVAC system.
Prepare Your Home
Before a hurricane, if you think it is likely that your power may go down, it is a good idea to go ahead and cool your home thoroughly so that you and your family stay comfortable until the power is restored. To maximize the cooling before the storm, close curtains and blinds, and keep doors and windows shut to keep the cool air inside. You will want to hold on to all of the cool that you can while the power is out.
Turn Off Electricity to Your Air Conditioner
Once the storm arrives, electrical surges caused by lightning strikes can potentially damage your AC unit, sometimes rendering it inoperable. There is also a chance that debris may become stuck in your outdoor unit and damage the moving parts. The best option may be to play it safe and shut off the power to your air conditioning system. We recommend you turn off the breakers to your AC or heat pump and indoor air handler or gas furnace.
Protect and Deflect
Covering your outdoor unit would ensure that no flying debris can damage your outdoor unit. High winds can knock down branches and trees that can damage your air conditioning unit if they land on it. Only cover your outdoor unit if the power has been turned off to the system. Be sure to remove any covering before attempting to operate the system. If your area is prone to flooding, you may want to consider having an HVAC professional place your unit on an elevated platform.
Refrain from turning your HVAC on until you have safely removed any covering and inspected the unit for damage. If anything looks questionable or out of place, wait until an HVAC professional is able to take a look before restoring power.
Proactive Debris Protection
Before the storm hits, take a thorough look around your yard and see if there are any loose objects lying around that could potentially damage your home and/or your outdoor HVAC unit. This might include tree debris, loose dead branches, outdoor furniture including grills, toys, and anything else that could pose a potential hazard. Move these items into a storage area or otherwise secure them or dispose of them before the storm hits.
Get a Surge Protector
Lightning during a storm can be incredibly harmful to an HVAC unit, even fatal, as with any electronic device. Protecting your investment with a surge protector made specifically for your HVAC system can help to protect your unit from being damaged.
Steps to Take After the Hurricane
Once the hurricane has passed and you can safely assess any damage, check to see if there is any water damage or other storm-related issues that may require you to replace some of your HVAC equipment or ductwork. Your home’s insurance provider can help you determine if is appropriate to file a claim.
And, of course again, if anything appears to be damaged or questionable, contact your local HVAC provider to inspect your system first. Your technician is able to determine if the system is safe to operate or which equipment might need repairs and what needs to be replaced.
Call a Qualified Contractor to Perform HVAC Repairs and Replacement
It is our hope that you, your family, and your home will “weather the storm” just fine. Unfortunately, however, there are times when flooding, large dangerous debris, and strong winds can cause serious damage to your home and HVAC system. Please do not attempt anything during a hurricane that may endanger yourself.
Hurricane season runs from June 1st through November 30th and can unleash strong winds, storm surges, and a catastrophic amount of heavy rain that can ravage homes and communities. As far as your HVAC system’s continued operation under severe circumstances, turn to the name you can trust.
MSCO can provide guidance prior to the storm to protect your HVAC system and we can perform any repairs that will help get you and your home through hurricane season. We’re here to help!