HVAC Hurricane Preparedness
HVAC Hurricane Preparedness for Your Home
Hurricane season (June 1 – November 30) has begun for the Texas Gulf Coast, a time of heightened awareness of tropical storms and hurricanes. Municipalities, businesses, and prudent homeowners are planning for the next storm event. Since each hurricane is unique and the damage caused is unpredictable, planning must be based on universal characteristics of severe weather events.
Homeowners must prepare for widespread high winds (gusts over 100 mph) and heavy rainfall over a relatively short period of time. The combination of these weather events leads to power outages, communication delays, travel restrictions, and temporary business closures.
The more people prepare, the quicker the recovery time for entire communities, so do your part and determine your response ahead of time. Here are several quick tips to include on your hurricane guideline list:
HVAC Hurricane Preparedness: Securing Your Home
Whether your plan is to evacuate or shelter in place, here are some suggestions to make sure your home is as secure as you can make it. Understand these are only suggestions. Please follow local emergency guidelines concerning evacuations, since they have the latest in weather updates and community situations.
- Purchase and store supplies that will help you protect the most vulnerable exterior surfaces present in your home.
- A two-car garage has at least 20 feet of a relatively thin surface with very little support structure; wind gusts can easily blow through your garage door. An open garage door will usually lead to further damage when the wind catches the roof and deposits it in the neighbor’s pool. Prepare to brace your garage door.
- Windows and doors are particularly vulnerable to high winds and flying debris. Purchase supplies and cut them to size ahead of time to protect windows and doors from high winds and flying debris.
- Inspect your property often, trimming dead limbs and limbs that overhang your home. Significant damage happens with limbs and trees fall in high winds.
- Unplug appliances and electronics to prevent damage from power surges due to frequent lightning strikes. A better plan is to turn the power off at the service panel right before the storm hits.
- If you need to protect your home from high water, be prepared to move valuables off the floor and park cars on higher ground.
HVAC Hurricane Preparedness: Protecting your Air Conditioner During a Hurricane
To minimize damage to your air conditioner and speed recovery time, follow these suggestions:
- Strap the outdoor compressor unit down with hurricane straps. The compressor unit is the only component of your HVAC system outside and exposed to the elements. Hurricane straps secure the lightweight unit to the concrete pad and prevent it from becoming a projectile.
If your home is prone to flooding, you can further protect the compressor by contacting an HVAC professional to elevate it.
- Cover the compressor unit. After preventing the compressor from being blown away, protect it from flying or falling debris. A tarp or compressor cover will keep debris from being blown into the hollow center.
Keep the cover on until winds subside, but remember to remove it before turning the AC on during recovery. For the compressor to function properly it needs a lot of air to move across the fins to cool the gases inside; without air movement, the high temperature will lead to overheating and failure.
- Prior to the storm, pre-cool your home. Set the thermostat a few degrees cooler than normal if you anticipate losing power for an extended period. It will not last forever but wait for the storm out in relative comfort. Keep curtains and blinds closed and doors closed to keep the cool air inside where it belongs.
- Once the high winds and heavy rain begins, turn off the air conditioner. Better yet, turn the power off at the electrical service panel. The electrical controls of your HVAC system are susceptible to power surges that can happen during frequent lightning strikes during a hurricane.
- After the storm has passed, begin with an inspection of your home inside and out. Remember to inspect for wind and rain damage, flooding, and damage resulting from power surges. If you have lost limbs or trees, proceed with caution and beware of downed power lines. Remember, if the ground is wet and a live power line is in contact with it, you are in danger. Contact your utility company and do not approach.Inspect your roof, windows, and walls. Make your way to the compressor unit and make a careful inspection. Remove the cover and examine the hollow interior. Make sure that leaves or branches have not blown inside to obstruct the fan of full air movement. Examine the electrical and coolant lines entering the home for damage. If any part of the unit is damaged, do not turn on the AC.
As a part of HVAC Hurricane Preparedness procedures, inspect the electrical service panel and the condenser/blower unit for water damage. If you have experienced flooding or water damage to the HVAC components, do not turn it on until an HVAC technician has inspected it.
- If you have any problems or need repairs, contact AllCool AC and Heating for HVAC Hurricane Preparedness assistance right away. The call volume will be high, so anticipate a wait. A professional service call will give you peace of mind. Finding a minor problem now can avoid a major problem later.
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