HVAC Hurricane Preparedness Tips
“Batten Down the Hatches” is a nautical term from the days of sailing ships. It meant to prepare the ship for coming stormy weather; secure loose items and seal the hatches or openings against the crashing waves to keep the ship afloat. HVAC Hurricane Preparedness
This phrase may also be a good fit for the “hurricane preparedness plan” for your home. The time to begin preparing is now. Predicting the timing and intensity of hurricanes is difficult, but the chances of facing another tropical storm, hurricane, or major thunderstorm make planning both wise and prudent.
Once a storm threatens, people’s movements and buying activities become frantic, so prepare ahead of a storm is essential. This article focuses on preparations you can make to protect your HVAC system during storm events. This is only a piece of the puzzle, but NorthWind AC wants to help you keep your family safe and ready to recover quickly.
HVAC Hurricane Preparedness: Batten Down
A storm plan will consider at least three storm damage possibilities before the storm arrives: wind damage, flooding, and long-term power outages. A good HVAC plan will prepare for contingencies for all three areas.
- The air conditioner compressor is located outside of most homes and is most susceptible to wind damage. While it may appear bulky, it is hollow and made of lightweight material. Hurricane straps have been designed to hold the compressor down and are available at home improvement stores. Since the unit is hollow, protect it from flying debris by purchasing a tarp or compressor cover designed for your unit. Cover it before the wind speed makes it impossible.
- If you sandbag or make other waterproofing measures, remember the vulnerability of your HVAC system to water damage.
- If you evacuate, turn off your electricity at the service panel before you leave. This will prevent damage to appliances from power surges and ensure no one is injured re-entering the home after the storm passes. If you shelter in place, cool your home down to a lower than normal temperature, then shut the AC down before the strength of the storm arrives. If you anticipate the power to be down for a while, at least your home will be as comfortable as possible. (Remember, do not install the compressor cover until after you shut the AC down.)
- One last thing. Consider purchasing a window unit AC and keep it in reserve for a lengthy power outage. This will give you a respite room from the heat and humidity with a generator or while waiting for an inspection.
HVAC Hurricane Preparedness: Recovery Plans
Recovery plans account for the same damage possibilities: wind damage, water damage, and power outages. It may be tempting to get that AC on as soon as possible, but be wise about your recovery process.
- You will inspect the yard and home for damage from wind and rain, perhaps flooding. Inspect the compressor unit carefully.
- Inspect for standing water or evidence of flooding
- Make sure the straps held and uncover the compressor
- Check inside for debris that might have blown into the hollow interior. Before power has been restored, remove any debris.
- The fan should turn freely. Avoid surprises!! Remember to make this inspection before restoring power to the AC system.
- Check for damage to the electrical and refrigerant lines between the compressor and the house.
- Inspect for water damage.
- If you evacuated and return to standing water in any area of the house, an electrical inspection from a licensed electrician is essential. This is why you turned off the electricity at the service panel before you left.
- If your HVAC system has evidence of flooding, it should be inspected by an HVAC technician. Schedule this right away, knowing many customers will be requesting this same inspection. This wait, between restored power and the completed inspection, is the reason for a window unit AC.
- After power has been restored and all the inspections are complete, change the filter and turn the AC on with peace of mind that it is in working order.
NorthWind AC will be here for you to help you prepare for the next storm and to recover once the storm has passed
Have Questions About HVAC Hurricane Preparedness?
Not sure where to start with HVAC Hurricane Preparedness? Northwind Air Conditioning and Heat can help you with getting your HVAC system ready for hurricane season. Contact us and get the answers you need.