In Virginia, hurricane season lasts from June 1 through November 30, but peaks from early August till the end of October. When you think about it, that’s a large part of our year! On top of that, our hottest, muggiest summer months fall right in the middle, which means you’ll be using your air conditioning a lot during that time.
Do you know how how to protect your heating and cooling system in this type of extreme weather? If not, we’ve come up with some helpful suggestions to get you through this rainy, windy time of year. Here are five tips to help you prepare your HVAC system for hurricane season!
Hurricane Watches and Warnings
Before we get into our tips, let’s talk about hurricane watches and warnings. You may have heard these terms used all of your life, but do you know the difference? If you don’t, this is a good time to learn to differentiate between the two!
A hurricane watch is the less serious of the two, and means that hurricane conditions are possible within your area but not necessarily imminent. They can be issued a full 48 hours in advance of anticipated storm weather, giving you enough time to prepare your home and review your plan for evacuation, if things escalate.
A hurricane warning indicates that hurricane conditions are expected in your area and typically come up to 36 hours in advance of the storm. This is the time when you’ll want to complete storm preparations, and if you’re in the path of the hurricane, consider evacuating.
Turn Off the Power
Hurricanes can cause surges and power outages, putting the electrical components of your home at risk. This, of course, can have a major impact on your air conditioning unit if the power is still active on your property.
When possible, shut off the electrical breaker that supplies power to your HVAC as well as your other major appliances to protect them from surge damage. If you happen to have a window unit, go ahead and unplug it until the storm passes. Do not restore power until you know that your home is not at risk of flooding.
Clean Up Loose Objects
Before the storm hits, look around your yard. Are there any loose objects lying around that could potentially damage your home and/or the outdoor components of your HVAC unit? Look for tree debris, lawn furniture and anything else that might become a problem.
Safely move these items to a storage area such as a garage, when possible. If you don’t have one, consider asking a neighbor if you could place some items in theirs. After all, a grill from your yard could fly away and hit their home, too!
Cover the Unit
You might be surprised by how delicate some components (such as the fan blades) of your HVAC system truly are. Another way to protect your unit is to cover it entirely with a tarp to prevent swirling, flying debris from causing damage. It’s ideal to do this before storm conditions arise, though, as securing a tarp in a hurricane could be unsafe.
When the storm has passed, refrain from turning on your HVAC until you’ve removed the tarp and inspected the unit for damage. If anything looks questionable, wait until a professional has checked it out before restoring power.
Call an HVAC Technician
Chances are, you and your HVAC system will come out of the storm just fine. Unfortunately, however, there might be times when flooding, large pieces of debris and strong winds cause serious damage. Don’t try to troubleshoot concerns on your own. You not only risk further damage to your unit, but you can put yourself at risk for serious injury.
In Virginia, hurricane season is already underway, so it’s best to get prepared sooner than later. By being proactive, you can keep your home safe and your heating and cooling systems operating smoothly.
When the storm clouds clear, contact a qualified professional to assess any concerns as soon as possible. Avoid costly repairs by talking to the technicians at W.G. Speeks. They are NATE-certified and our company has more than 75 years of experience serving the Greater Richmond Area.
Don’t put your home and family at risk. Turn to the name you can trust. We can provide guidance and perform repairs to get you through hurricane season. We’re here to help!