Hurricane Season HVAC Preparedness

2024 Hurricane Season HVAC Preparedness Guide

As a veteran of several hurricane seasons, you are undoubtedly aware of the preparedness plans offered by various organizations. That includes rotating stocks of potable water and ready-to-eat meals, reviewing evacuation plans, and inspecting window coverings in storage. They might also include long-term actions to be taken over time, such as

Perhaps it should include reviewing these last-minute steps to take concerning protecting your air conditioner system.

Hurricane Season HVAC Preparedness Tip 1: Drop the Temperature Prior

Chances are, your home will lose power during the storm, so enjoy the cool while you can. It is recommended that the thermostat setting be dropped for a few hours before the storm’s arrival to cool the home. This step is not necessary if you plan to evacuate.

Hurricane Season HVAC Preparedness Tip 2: Trip the Breaker

Lightning strikes and hurricane-force wind play havoc with the electric power grid, sending random power surges throughout the network. These surges can be extremely powerful, with 1,000s of volts rushing into residential wiring, which is only prepared for a maximum of 240 volts. Preparedness plans call for homeowners to shut off the power to their homes by tripping the main breaker at the electric service panel. This protects the air conditioning system along with other electrical systems and appliances. This step is recommended whether you plan to weather the storm or evacuate the area.

Hurricane Season HVAC Preparedness Tip 3: Cover the Condenser

The outdoor air conditioner unit is called the condenser. While it may appear solid and heavy, it is actually hollow and quite light. For this reason, preparedness plans strongly recommend using a strap to secure the condenser to the concrete pad under the condenser.

The walls of the condenser contain a network of aluminum tubes and very thin aluminum fins. That makes the condenser very susceptible to flying debris; even small items hurling at 100 mph can cause considerable damage. If you purchased a cover for the condenser, wait until the power to the air conditioner is shut off before installing it. Be sure to cover the condenser before the wind endangers the person installing it. This should be completed whether you evacuate or not.

Hurricane Season HVAC Preparedness Tip 4: Post-Storm Observation

After the storm has passed, it will be tempting to immediately restore power to the home and air conditioning system. Before restoring power, make a quick inspection of the home. Watch for downed power lines. Uncover and inspect the condenser unit for damage. If the unit is damaged, do not restore power to the air conditioner until the condenser is repaired. This should be completed whether you evacuate or not.

Hurricane Season HVAC Preparedness Tip 5: Restore Power

After determining that the system is intact, trip the breaker and restore power to the air conditioner. Observe the function and performance of the system since unseen damage may have occurred. If the unit is damaged or if you suspect unseen damage, call a professional HVAC technician for inspection and repair.

Have Questions About Hurricane Season HVAC Preparedness?

Northwind Air Conditioning and Heat can help answer your Hurricane Season HVAC Preparedness questions. Contact us and get the help you need.

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