How To Protect Your AC From Storms in Tampa Bay
According to studies, Florida experiences an average of over 70 thunderstorm days per year, which is the highest recorded rate in America. Not only can thunderstorms damage properties, but it can also cause a power outage or a power surge.
With this in mind, protecting your home against thunderstorms is a necessity if you live in the area. Aside from making sure your home can weather the toughest storm, it’s important that you take preventive measures to safeguard your biggest electrical investment–your air conditioning system. To protect your AC from storms, below are some of the important steps you should take:
How to Protect Your AC from Storms and Hurricanes
Taking care of your AC unit during a storm or a hurricane is not rocket science. By learning what to do before, during and after the calamity, you can protect your ac system from storms and save yourself from expensive AC repairs.
What to Do before the Storm
Think ahead: Staying tuned to weather forecasts can help you better prepare for the storm that’s about to come. If you think that the storm is strong enough to cause a power outage or a lightning event, pre-cool your home so you and your family can stay comfortable even when the power is out. Try to maintain the temperature in your home by shutting your windows and doors, and by rolling down the blinds.
Cut potential hazards: Check the outdoors and trim shrubs and tree branches that can puncture your AC unit in case of a storm surge. Large, growing plants should be about 30 inches away from your outdoor unit.
Secure your AC unit: So the weatherman asks you to anticipate gusty wind and hurricanes, what should you do now? To protect your AC from storms, make sure that your unit is fully protected by covering its outdoor parts. You can use plywood or a tarp to protect your unit from flying debris like wood branches. If you are expecting a hurricane and your AC unit is installed on the higher ground, secure it with a sturdy hurricane strap.
Invest in your unit’s protection: It’s wise to invest in extra kits and tools that can help you secure your system. Below are some of the items that can help you protect your ac system from storms:
- A Hard Start Kit is attached to the condensing unit of an air conditioner to help the system startup quickly without causing strain to internal parts and without using too much energy.
- A Surge Protector absorbs power surges to protect the unit’s compressor, motor, and circuit. In the US, electrical power is delivered through an alternating current that oscillates from 0-169 volts. During power surges, however, the voltage goes over 169 volts, which can consequently generate heat and cause damage to internal electrical parts. Having a surge protector at hand can help prevent electrical parts from eroding due to frequent power surges.
- A fully-powered capacitor is necessary if your old capacitor is not working properly anymore. A good capacitor basically sends jolts to run the motor, and it is critical in preventing air conditioning problems such as a hard start.
- A Time Delay helps protect your ac system from storms since it prevents short cycles, which usually happens during a power surge or when the unit is quickly turned on and off.
What to Do during the Storm
- Protect your ac from storms by turning off your circuit breaker or thermostat. Aside from power surges, flying debris can potentially cause problems with your motor once it gets caught up in your outdoor unit. If you are expecting a hurricane or a strong tropical storm, remove your window-type unit (if there’s any) to prevent it from getting airborne.
What to Do After the Storm
- Remove tarps or any protective covering from your outside unit once the area is safe. Covering your unit for extended periods of time can lead to the formation of mold and mildew due to moisture buildup.
- Check for any damage and check for debris before powering the system up so you can avoid major problems like a motor burn out or a toxic refrigerant leak.
- When in doubt, ask for professional help so HVAC experts can fully assess the condition of your unit.
Repairs and unit replacements can be both costly and inconvenient, so it’s best that you consult a professional HVAC company in case you have doubts. Air Hawk Heating and Cooling is fully equipped to protect your AC from storms. Don’t hesitate to drop us a question or two if you need help with assessment or repairs.