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Is Your HVAC Unit Ready For Hurricane Season?

Is Your HVAC Unit Ready For Hurricane Season?
Hurricane season is closing in, and for Central Florida this means it’s time to start preparing for the worst. If you’re a Florida resident, you’re probably familiar with the general precautions that need to be taken prior to an impending storm, such as fortifying the physical structures of your home and stocking up on water, non-perishable foods, first-aid kits, flashlights, radios and batteries. However, people commonly overlook the importance of protecting their HVAC units from the forces of Mother Nature.
This season, don’t make the mistake of forgetting to protect your HVAC unit from a hurricane, so that you can have heating and air conditioning following the passage of the storm. Here are a few tips on the kind of HVAC maintenance necessary for you to make sure you have air conditioning after a hurricane;

Can your HVAC unit withstand the elements?
When strengthening your home for the arrival of a hurricane, one of the first things you’ll probably do is protect and seal up your roof, windows, and doors. However, making sure that your HVAC unit can also withstand the brutal elements acting on it during a hurricane can ensure a cool home post-storm.

External Protection
Both wind and water can be extremely detrimental to the state of your HVAC unit when under the environmental conditions present during a hurricane. Hurricane winds, ranging from 74 mph to 157 mph, can not only blow dirt and leaves into the unit, but can also throw large objects into it, causing permanent damage. Be sure to remove any loose objects from the area to avoid damage by flying pots or porch chairs. Strong enough winds can even result in the entire HVAC unit detaching and flying away. Another element that can badly damage your HVAC unit is water, especially salt water. Briny ocean water can cause corrosion on the metal of the HVAC unit, which can serve as a fire hazard and permanently damage the unit. In order to avoid these catastrophic events, tighten any bolts keeping the exterior HVAC unit grounded, implement hurricane straps on the unit, cover it securely, and if at all possible, elevate the unit to avoid contact with salty floodwaters.

Internal Protection
Another factor to think about when preparing your HVAC unit for the arrival of a hurricane is lightning and high winds which will affect power supply. Lightning strikes near your area of residence can cause power surges and, consequently, electrical failures due to internal damage. High winds can knock down trees and take out power lines. For this reason, make sure to completely shut off the breaker to your HVAC unit before the storm hits in order to protect it from this damage. If you don’t shut down your unit prior to the storm, make sure you shut it off when the power goes out. Otherwise, when the power continues to go in and out it can damage the electrical elements of your unit.

Once the hurricane has passed, and your HVAC unit appears to still be intact, do not immediately turn it back on. Although the unit may look functional, there could be internal damages unable to be seen from the outside. The first step to take before restarting your home’s HVAC unit is to schedule HVAC maintenance to ensure that your unit is functioning properly. If your HVAC unit is in need of a post-storm check-up, contact East Coast Heating and Air Conditioning for professional HVAC maintenance.

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