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How Hurricanes & Severe Storms Can Impact HVAC Units

Hurricanes and severe storms can potentially impact HVAC (Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning) units in various ways. Here are some ways in which hurricanes can affect HVAC systems:

  1. Flooding: One of the most significant risks during a hurricane is flooding. If floodwaters reach the outdoor condenser unit (located outside the building), it can damage the electrical components and the system as a whole. Saltwater flooding, common in coastal areas affected by hurricanes, can be particularly corrosive and damaging.
  2. Debris Damage: High winds and flying debris during a hurricane can cause physical damage to the outdoor unit, including bending or breaking the fins of the condenser coil. Debris may also clog the outdoor unit, hindering its performance.
  3. Power Outages: Hurricanes often lead to power outages. Power surges or sudden power restoration can affect HVAC systems. It’s advisable to turn off the HVAC system during a power outage to prevent potential damage when power is restored.
  4. Fallen Trees and Branches: Falling trees or branches can damage outdoor HVAC units if they land on them. It’s important to clear any debris around the outdoor unit before a storm and trim overhanging branches.
  5. Corrosion: Wind-driven rain and saltwater can contribute to corrosion, especially in coastal areas. This can affect the longevity and efficiency of HVAC units over time.

To mitigate the impact of hurricanes on HVAC units, consider the following precautions:

  • Elevate Outdoor Units: If possible, elevate the outdoor condenser unit to reduce the risk of flooding.
  • Secure Outdoor Units: Anchor the outdoor unit securely to a concrete pad to prevent it from being blown away or toppled during high winds.
  • Protect with Covers: Consider using hurricane-rated covers for outdoor units to shield them from debris. However, these should be designed to allow for proper ventilation.
  • Power Surge Protection: Install surge protectors to safeguard the HVAC system from power surges.
  • Regular Maintenance: Conduct regular maintenance, including checking for loose components, securing electrical connections, and cleaning the outdoor unit. This ensures the system is in good condition to withstand potential storms.

Before and after a hurricane, it’s advisable to have a professional HVAC technician like Beach Air inspect the system for any damage and make necessary repairs. Additionally, following manufacturer guidelines and considering storm-resistant HVAC system features can contribute to the system’s resilience in hurricane-prone areas.

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