Air ConditioningElectricalHome ImprovementPrepare your AC For Storm Season!

July 15, 2021

 

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Here in Kansas City, summer storms can create an incredible amount of destruction. A weather system can mean many hazards to your HVAC system. Storms bring lightning which can strike and cause a power surge or result in electrical damage to your air conditioner, hail can cause damage to the condenser, and heavy rain may lead to flooding that could destroy the cooling unit. Once the storm has passed, your homeowner’s insurance may not cover all the destruction and services needed to fix HVAC equipment.

It’s a good idea to prepare for storms and inclement summer weather ahead of time to minimize harm to your HVAC unit. Protect your air conditioner from summer storms with the tips below from MVP. Take steps to shield your AC unit from lightning strikes, electrical surges, and other unpredictable conditions now – when you help protect your AC now, you’re protecting your comfort and wallet in advance!

Prepare Ahead of Storm Season

Here are some steps you can take before summer.

  • Review Your Insurance Coverage! During a storm, your outdoor HVAC equipment can be harmed by flooding, falling debris, high winds, tornadoes, lightning strikes, and hail. It’s a good idea make sure you’re covered now. If you have questions about your policy and what it covers or wish to increase coverage, call your agent to discuss your needs.
  • Make Home Upgrades. Specific home improvement projects can provide protection and peace of mind when the stormy season starts. Consider your options now and contact a skilled professional to make these upgrades to your home.
  • Plug-in power strips unfortunately don’t provide the protection you expect in the event of an electric surge. Even if they did, your home’s major appliances like the air conditioner,
    heating unit, and other equipment do not plug into standard outlets. Whole house surge protectors cover the home’s entire electric system as well as anything plugged into it
    should a surge occur during seasonal storms. If your home is prone to utility outages during storms, a backup generator can provide electricity for essentials until emergency service completes repairs. Generators can be configured to start automatically when a lack of electricity is detected and this equipment comes in various capacities so you can decide which systems and equipment you want to keep running during an outage.
  • Keep Your Yard Clear. When a storm approaches, you have a lot on your mind – picking up the yard probably doesn’t make the list. Branches, lawn furniture, and outdoor toys can become projectiles during a storm and cause damage to your air conditioning equipment or the home. Instead, make this maintenance part of your normal routine to help protect your air conditioner when foul weather arrives. Remove dead branches from trees and keep trees neatly trimmed.
  • Store patio furniture, grills, tools, and lawn toys in a secure location such as a utility shed or the home’s garage. If you prefer to leave large items outdoors throughout the season, make sure they are secured to your patio, deck, or the house itself.

What to Do Right Before a Storm

When the weather forecast shows a summer storm is moving in, it’s time to get to work and protect your air conditioner from potential harm.

  • Cool the Home Before a Storm. A lightning strike or a downed tree due to high winds can knock out your home’s power during summer storms. If you don’t have a backup generator, you’ll have no way to cool your house throughout the utility outage. If you suspect your home may lose power in a coming storm, take steps ahead of time to cool your home and keep everyone
    comfortable until power is restored.
  • Lower the thermostat temperature a few degrees below your usual setting so your home has plenty of cool air to last as emergency service contractors from your utility provider work to repair downed power lines.
  • Close window coverings and keep windows and doors shut. These tips help your home
    retain the cool air created by your air conditioner so your home will stay comfortable for
    a longer period.
  • Protect Your AC Unit. An outdoor air conditioner is designed to last through constant exposure to the elements. It’s not necessary to cover the unit during summer storms, but doing so can
    provide some added protection from flying or falling debris.
  • Secure Your Air Conditioning Equipment. If your outdoor air conditioning unit is exposed or elevated on a rooftop or platform, make sure it is firmly strapped into place. Strong wind gusts may cause AC units to topple.
  • Shut Off Electricity to Air Conditioning Units. If lightning hits your home or strikes nearby in your yard, it may send a surge of power through your electrical system and connected equipment, such as your HVAC system. Power surges from storms can fry system components or wiring, and may damage the unit beyond repair. By cutting the system’s electrical connection, you can protect your unit from serious surge damage.
  • Turn off electricity to your heating and cooling system at the breaker inside your home. Also, shut off the air conditioning unit at your home’s thermostat.

After Poor Conditions Have Passed

Once it is safe to go outside again, check the condition of your home and AC unit.

  • Inspect the AC Unit for Damage. If debris, wind, and other storm-related issues have damaged your AC, you don’t want to run the system before these problems are repaired – doing so has the potential to cause further harm to air conditioning units.
  • Uncover the condenser and visually assess the equipment for damage. Remove debris that has fallen into the equipment or gathered along the condenser fins.
  • Call your HVAC professional to inspect your cooling unit and perform repair services if you suspect damage.

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