Protect Your Air Conditioner from Power Surges and Storms this Summer

air conditioners

Heavy storms could lead to air conditioner damage if you don’t take measures to help protect the unit before, during, and after the storm has passed. Lighting connects with the home or a nearby power line falls, knocking out electrical supply to your home upon causing a surge. Straight-line winds send yard debris flying direct into your outdoor condenser. Hail can wreck the outdoor system cabinet, and high rain and flooding may wash out air conditioners.

Before summer storm season, learn how to protect HVAC system equipment with these tips. Thomas & Galbraith walks you through how to best protect your AC so you can control unnecessary repair and replacement costs once bad weather moves out.

What to Do in the Off Season

Well before summer is the perfect time to consider long-lasting upgrades for your home that will protect air conditioner from summer storms.

Protecting Power Needs

Skilled home services providers can help you make the following improvements to your house that will provide better protection for your AC unit and your home comfort once a storm arrives.

  • Install surge protectors for your entire home. Plug-in surge protectors offer no safety for your air conditioning unit – and fail to provide much protection for the devices that rely on these plugs. Contact a professional to discuss whole house devices that protect everything on the home’s electrical system from power fluctuations due to surges.
  • Invest in a backup generator so your family has access to a power supply even when poor weather knocks down utility lines. A backup generator can flip on automatically and power select systems and appliances throughout your home, including cooling.

Assess Insurance Policies

If your air conditioner is destroyed by hail pounding on the condenser or a tornado picked it up and threw it down the road, will your insurances cover your losses for units when natural events cause damage?

  • Review the policies you hold and make sure you understand what is covered and what isn’t.
  • Call your agent to ask questions about coverage or to request additional policies to protect your home.

Maintain the Yard

When a storm approaches, there’s no time to make sure all trees are free of big, dead limbs, nor an opportunity to safely stow away outdoor furniture. Instead, it’s a good idea to make these tips part of your usual routine so they are already done!

  • Check mature trees for dead limbs and remove them.
  • Trim trees and bushes to avoid falling debris and damage.
  • Keep patio furniture, grills, and outside toys stored indoors when not in use, or make sure these items are secured to a permanent fixture if they are to be left outside.

Imminent Storm Prep Tips

If your weather forecast has a storm heading your way, here are pointers to help you protect your AC unit before sheltering away from the storm.

Cool Home in Advance

Auto accidents, falling trees, even a lightning strike could cut the power at your house for hours, even after bad conditions have passed. Without electricity, your air conditioner doesn’t have energy to cool the home. Allow your air conditioning system to generate some extra cooling ahead of the storm, just in case.

  • Set your thermostat a few degrees lower than your typical temperature settings and leave the air conditioner running up until you need to shut off the HVAC for safety. The extra cooling will help keep temperatures down in your home until utility emergency service gets the lines back up again.
  • Pull curtains and close blinds to help the house retain cooling from your AC unit and block any rays from the Sun that bring units of heating energy into living areas.

Secure and Take Cover

Any air conditioner is exposed to potential dangers outdoors during lightning storms. While opinions on air conditioner covers vary for regular use, using a cover to protect the unit from storm damage can be helpful. Exposed air conditioners may need help to prevent damage in a storm.

  • Before you cover the air conditioning unit, shut off the power to the unit at the thermostat.
  • Stretch a tarp across the top of the air conditioning unit and secure the corners around its base. Instead of a tarp, you can use a piece of plywood placed over the top of the condenser unit to help keep debris from storm winds out of the system.
  • If you have a rooftop air conditioner or a unit that is situated in an open area, you may want to secure it with straps which will hold the air conditioning system in place against strong gusts.

Cut Power to HVAC System

During a storm, it’s possible for a surge to occur due to an outage of utility service or a lightning strike. If your HVAC system is on, it can be severely damaged by fluctuating voltage.

  • Disconnect power to your HVAC system at the breaker.
  • Use the thermostat to shut off the HVAC unit.

After Storms Are Over

Once the weather has cleared up, assess for damage to determine your next move. Your air conditioner may have been a victim to falling debris, winds, and other damage caused during the storm.

  • Remove the cover to the condenser unit.
  • Inspect the outdoor unit for damage that is visible.
  • Pull out any debris that fell into the unit so that it doesn’t cause damage when the air conditioner runs.
  • If you need repair service to correct issues caused by the storm, call your trusted HVAC company to make repairs or inspect the system for damage before you turn it back on and use it once more.
  • If you are confident the system has not been harmed, go ahead and restore power and turn the cooling on in your home.

Cincinnati Air Conditioner Repair and Inspection

If your air conditioner has been through a major storm or sat in flood waters, it should be inspected by a professional before use. Even smaller storms have the potential to hurt your unit, so carefully check your air conditioner over after each weather event. If you need air conditioner repairs or inspection in Cincinnati, call Thomas & Galbraith today.

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