Hurricane Florence is picking up steam in the Atlantic Ocean currently,
and while it’s not expected to make landfall in Florida, the immense
force of the already-Category-4 storm has Florida sending their thoughts
and prayers for safety to our neighbors to the north in George and the
Carolinas. We haven’t forgotten how devastating of a force last
year’s hurricane season was.
Hurricanes are one of Mother Nature’s most torrential and catastrophic
natural disasters, bringing triple-digit-speed winds, immense amounts
of rainfall, and much more to affected areas. Virtually anything in their
path is subject to being totally destroyed or taking immense damage. For
homeowners, this can include your air conditioner. On this blog, we’ll
discuss what a hurricane can do to your air conditioner and how you can
protect it from damage, saving yourself an immense amount in repair bills.
Hurricane Damage to Your Air Conditioner
There are plenty of ways a hurricane can damage your air conditioner, primarily
in your heat pump or outside unit. First, there’s the risk of flooding.
Because hurricanes bring such a heavy deluge of rainfall in such a short
amount of time, flooding is common, especially at low points. While many
Florida cities do everything they can to keep their drainage systems maintained,
open, and ready to handle the sudden onslaught of water, it’s not
uncommon for properties to become flooded with a ton of extra standing water.
To make matters worse, these floodwaters can rapidly flow in certain directions,
placing extra added stress on the mounting points of your outdoor unit.
They can also carry debris which can damage your unit in a collision.
Then there’s the matter of the winds. With steady winds usually exceeding
triple digits and gusts that may exceed 150 or even 200 miles per hour
in particularly extreme circumstances, virtually every part of your air
conditioner is at risk. Hurricane gusts often carry debris, including
some particularly dangerous debris like roof tiles, pieces of house siding,
and more. However, even without the risk for debris strikes, the wind
force itself could be strong enough to lift your outdoor unit right off
its mounting point and carry it away, which is the worst possible scenario
for your system.
Preventing Hurricane Damage
So what can you do to reduce the chances that a hurricane will severely
damage your HVAC system? Here are a few preventative steps you can take:
Have your air conditioner inspected by the team at Phoenix Air Conditioning, LLC;
contact us online now or call (888) 660-4337 to schedule your appointment today.
Shut off the power: Find the circuit in your breaker panel that controls your outdoor unit
and shut it off. While your outdoor panel is built to operate when wet,
this significantly reduces the chances that floodwaters or continued exposure
could lead to damaged components. Likewise, this removes the chance that
your system might spark and catch fire should any of the wires become ripped.
Tie down the unit: Your local home improvement warehouse has a selection of hurricane straps
that provide extra support and security for your heat pump during severe
weather. Use these hurricane straps to secure your system to the foundation
it’s built on. This can not only prevent your system from being
blown or swept away, but may even help it stay perfectly in place, reducing
the chances of an issue. You may also want to consider putting a few pieces
of plywood against the sides and top of your unit in order to protect it from
Inspect your system before turning it back on: When the storm has subsided,
do not immediately restore power to your HVAC system. Before turning the power back on, reach out to a Palm Beach County HVAC
professional and have it inspected to see if any serious damage has occurred.
A professional can identify a number of signs that there’s something
wrong with your system before you turn it on, allowing them to fix the
issue and preventing a potentially catastrophic disaster from things like
an electrical short or refrigerant leak.