How to Protect Your HVAC System During a Hurricane, Flood, or Inclement Weather

Is your air conditioning system ready for the next hurricane or tropical storm that threatens the Gulf Coast? Tropical Storm Harvey is strengthening and could become a hurricane by the weekend. Weather forecasters are predicting that the storm will come inland and then veer west which puts our area on the “dirty side” of the storm. This means more rain and wind for West Houston, Katy, Bellaire, Richmond, Rosenberg, Sugar Land, Missouri City, Fulshear, and the Greater Southwest Houston area. In addition to gathering water, food, and batteries, there are steps you can take to protect your air conditioning and heating system before the storm arrives. If severe weather is on its way and flooding is imminent, quick thinking can save you thousands of dollars.

Turn Off the Power

If water is coming up the driveway and into the yard, this is a good time to turn off the air conditioner at the thermostat. It may not be terribly comfortable as the humidity rises, but this can help preserve the electrical system, especially the outside condensing unit.  If your home is starting to flood, take the next step and turn the power off at the breaker box to prevent electrical shorts and keep you and your family safe.

If your outdoor condensing unit floods AND the power is off, in many cases all you will need to do is to have the system thoroughly cleaned out of the mud, dirt, leaves, and debris. That is a much cheaper repair than replacing a $5,000-$15,000 unit with a new one. If your condensing unit has been submerged, we recommend calling an air conditioning technician to inspect your air conditioning unit before starting it up for safety’s sake.

Avoid Lightning Strikes

Severe weather with lots of lightning strikes can also be very dangerous to your air conditioning system’s electronics. If it is particularly bad, consider turning off the system during the worst of it. If you have surge protectors installed, these can also be helpful to protect the motors that run your HVAC system. See how power shorts and surges shorten the life of your HVAC system and its electronics.

Remove Outdoor Furniture or Equipment

It may sounds like common sense, but remove outdoor patio furniture, equipment, toys, or other supplies that could become projectiles during a wind storm. If you have heavy tree limbs hanging over your condenser that you’ve been meaning to trim and you have time, take care of those before the storm does it for you. You may not be able to plan for a neighbor’s patio chair crashing through your outdoor unit, but removing the obvious dangers should reduce the risks. Skip covering your condenser with a tarp as the protection really isn’t adequate.

Hire a Professional HVAC Technician

Sometimes air conditioners might “act funny” after a severe storm or hurricane. Sometimes wiring gets pulled out of place or there are electrical shorts that can be easily fixed. Sometimes switching the power on/off at the breaker can reset the system after a fierce storm. We most commonly see failed capacitors, an electrical part that runs the outdoor unit and other inexpensive, electrical part repairs that wore out from power surges common after a storm. When your whole block flips on the power at once, it can affect the power supply causing surges. If your system floods or it is not working right, give us a call and we’ll swing by to diagnose what might be going on.  We might be able to buy you some time before you have to replace your unit if the storm really takes a toll.

Call Us for Help

Call the experts at Terry’s A/C and Heating, a Carrier Factory Authorized Dealer, at 281-495-7830 for a quick diagnosis and thorough repair or replacement no matter what Mother Nature serves up.  We are family-owned and dedicated to the highest standards of personal service backed by one of the best warranties in the industry. Find out how we’re different, and take advantage of our Specials and Financing to save some dough. We would be honored to earn your business.