HOUSTON – As residents of South Texas. we know all too well, hurricanes form every year and bring destructive winds, drenching rains and flash flooding to coastal communities. Storm preparation is a part of life for those who live in vulnerable areas, from boarding up windows to stocking bottled water and everything in between. It’s also worth taking special steps to protect your air conditioning system from damage if you live in one of these regions. Follow these tips to give your HVAC equipment a better chance of weathering the storm.
Shelter from the Storm
If a major storm bearing down on our Houston-area, you should shut down your air conditioning system and cut off the power either at a master shut-off switch or in the circuit breaker. That way, it’s less likely to be damaged by a power surge or get shorted out by a flood.
Next, you should cover your AC unit to protect it from debris, tree limbs and excessive rain. One option is to cover the equipment with a tarp that is securely fastened to the ground or another solid object. Some people in storm-prone regions even construct wooden boxes to give their air conditioning systems a better chance of making it through the hurricane.
If you have a window unit, your task is a bit simpler: Simply unplug it and bring it inside where it has maximum protection against major damage.
After the Clouds Disappear
Once the hurricane moves on, you can't just flip on the power and fire up your air conditioning system like nothing happened. There could be water in the system, or debris and contaminants could have lodged in the fans or ducts. There's also a possibility that the coolant or electrical lines could be damaged. Before you try to start the unit, have an HVAC professional inspect the system and make sure that it is still intact and won't cause a health or safety issue.
If your air conditioning system does get badly damaged in a storm, you can find portable units that can tide you over and keep your home cool until you can get the central air unit repaired. Some households also keep a generator on hand that can power the air conditioning in case of an extended power outage.