Preparing your HVAC Units for Stormy Weather or Hurricanes
Your outdoor HVAC unit is unique among the appliances in your home, as it is the only one that sits outside 24/7. Given these unique circumstances, it is important that you properly prepare the unit when major storms or hurricanes are bearing down on your location. Doing so will ensure that the unit remains undamaged during the storm so you can power it up again once the storm has passed to begin cooling your home. Here are a few tips to help your unit survive the severe weather.
Watch for Debris
If high winds are expected with the severe weather, such as in the case of a hurricane, it’s important to surround your HVAC units with an impact-resistant material to keep it safe from debris. Even small sticks can become damaging projectiles when moving at high speeds, so it’s important to protect your valuable HVAC units from damage. Surround the unit on all sides and the top for total protection, just be sure not to run the unit while it’s encased, as this could cause it to malfunction.
Keep it Where it Belongs
In extreme wind events, your HVAC units could actually be toppled over or even blown away. Their wide profile makes them easy targets for a sudden gust of wind or high sustained winds. To prevent this, ensure that your units are properly bolted to the surface on which they rest and ensure that the foundation is sturdy, as well. Avoid using straps that restrict airflow to the unit, as this can negatively affect its performance.
Assess the Units
If you have enough advance warning prior to a severe weather event, it may be a good idea to have a qualified HVAC technician stop by to inspect your system and ensure it’s in good shape. Sometimes, especially if you haven’t had your system maintained for a while, wear and tear on the system can begin to make smaller parts come loose.
In normal weather conditions, this likely won’t be much of an issue. However, if a strong wind comes, these loose components could be blown away, resulting in major damage to your system. By completing any necessary repairs ahead of time, you can ensure that your system will be able to effectively weather the storm.
If you’re expecting severe weather in the area, it’s a good idea to go ahead and set your thermostat several degrees lower to excessively cool your home. Assuming you have adequate insulation, then, once the storm arrives, you’ll be able to weather the storm with your unit turned off while still staying cool inside. This is especially convenient in the event that your power goes out, as it keeps you cool even though you can’t operate your HVAC units.
Check for Damage
After the storm has passed, it’s important to check for any damage before you turn the system back on. If you’re not absolutely sure of what you’re looking at, it’s a good idea to have a qualified technician inspect your system so that no personal or property damage occurs. If you’ve followed the steps above, chances are your system will be in good shape and ready to get back to cooling your home, right away.