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how to protect hvac systems in severe weather

Hurricanes and tropical storms in Florida are not fun. All of them pose a risk, not only to our lives but also to our homes and businesses. That’s why it is so important to protect HVAC systems from potential damages resulting from severe weather.

But not only is it Hurricane season, it’s also hot. And you really need to rely on your air conditioning unit. It helps you to cope with high temperatures and high levels of humidity that are typical of a Florida summer

You can’t afford to lose your HVAC system, especially when you can prevent it. But what are the most effective ways to safeguard your outdoor unit? Keep reading for some handy tips on how to protect HVAC systems from severe weather.

Defend Your Outdoor AC Unit

Protect HVAC units from the wind by turning them off and then covering them. Please note that turning them off before putting a cover over them is very important to avoid potential internal damage to the system. What you use to cover your condenser unit will depend on what hurricane-force winds are expected around your area in Florida. 

A tarp that is properly fastened will do the trick for most homes. But for extremely high force winds, you will want to use plywood along with a tarp. The plywood will serve as a windbreak, preventing the structure from being blown off its base. Additionally, it will prevent flying debris from directly striking the unit.

Check Wires

Make sure that any wires that are connected between your outside HVAC unit and your home are properly secured and covered to avoid the risk of hazardous shorts. Even insulated wires will eventually degrade after being exposed to light and varying temperatures for a long enough period of time.

Raise Your HVAC System

What you raise your HVAC system with matters just as much as what you cover it with. Although it may seem like an economical option to raise your outdoor unit with wood, that decision could end in disaster. 

In the instance of a flood, the wood will soften and rot, falling apart right from under your unit before storm season in Florida can end. Your outdoor AC unit should only be on top of a concrete base or footer. Some of them are made of brick. 

The higher the base, the more protected it will be against rising water. Although most bases only raise the unit a few inches from the ground, many are designed to extend the appliance several feet in the air!

Check with your county beforehand if you want to create a base for your HVAC unit.  You probably need a permit and an idea of how high you should elevate the unit.

Secure Your Outdoor Unit

Fasten all the nuts and bolts tightly to be certain that the unit is secure. Outdoor units that are not properly anchored to their platforms can be moved by the wind even if they are covered with plywood.

Shut it Off

A power surge that occurs while your air conditioner is operating may cause the circuitry to get damaged and could harm the compressor. To extend the life of your heating and cooling system, you should turn off the HVAC using the thermostat and the breaker box.

After the Severe Weather Passes

After a severe storm, if you suspect that your HVAC system sustained any damage, consult an Action Air Conditioning expert right away. 

When the storm has safely passed, you will want to carefully remove the tarp and plywood. Observe how much stress the unit sustained by checking for scratches, dents, and other damage on the unit. 

You should also look at the nuts and bolts again. If they are loose, re-tighten them and proceed with caution. Look for any leaking liquid (this could be coolant).

Ideally, you should have a licensed and insured HVAC contractor perform a maintenance check and tuneup on the unit to clean it thoroughly and confirm that the appliance is running efficiently. 

Your HVAC system may have debris in its filters, mold growing in the units or damaged components. Whether you have a professional look at your unit or not, you should pay attention to signs of trouble. Turn off your air conditioner immediately and get a qualified technician to look at it if you notice anything strange.

It is our goal at Action Air Conditioning that you enjoy the highest possible level of comfort. We provide reasonably priced maintenance and repair service that is carried out by certified professionals who have been trained to provide you with the best customer service and HVAC services possible.