Before The Hurricane Hits
If you're planning on remaining home to weather the hurricane, be prepared to not use your air conditioner for the duration of the incoming storm and even after until it's checked for safety. This means cooling your home to a temperature lower than usual may be a good idea. The reasoning is that in the event of post-storm power outages, you aren't dealing with insufferable heat longer than necessary. Whether you choose to stay or go, A/c units should always be shut down as a hurricane approaches with no exceptions.
While your unit should ideally be surge protected, if it is not, then the importance of having its power shut off drastically increases with components and wiring at risk for damage. The next step in preparation is to ensure your air conditioning unit is securely bolted down with hurricane straps. If these are missing or destroyed, consider replacing them immediately if at all possible. Following this, cover your unit with a tarp or cover designed for weather and debris protection purposes as you sit out the storm.
After The Hurricane
The most important thing to remember post-hurricane is: Do not turn on your air conditioning unit to "see if it works." A full inspection needs to be made to make sure it is safe to turn on, or else you risk not only further damaging the unit, but also risking your own safety. Here is a checklist of post-hurricane safety.
- Check the immediate area around the unit for flooding, water accumulation, or signs that the a/c was underwater at any point. Call for an HVAC safety check-up if any of these have occurred.
- Take off the cover and visually inspect for damage.
- Remove any debris or items in or around the unit.
- Check fans for lodged items.
- Check electrical and refrigerant lines for any damage.
If there are no signs of damage once all these steps are completed, it should be safe to turn your air conditioning unit back on. The safest option will always be an HVAC inspection after a hurricane, and it will give you the peace of mind you need to know that everything is working as it should. Resist the urge to skip the inspection and turn your a/c on immediately to relieve yourself of the heat, as there are very real risks involved in doing so. Consider purchasing a portable air conditioner to use for both these situations, as well as when breakdowns occur.
East Coast Heating And Air Conditioning is committed to providing you with the finest in HVAC installation, service and support both in and out of hurricane season. Contact us today for all your air conditioning needs.