In Florida, the dreaded hurricane season runs from June to November, but then like most Floridians, we’re used to the rough storms this time of year brings. We’ve already seen early developing storms like Tropical Storm Arthur, and predictions are for a very active summer and fall.1 It’s important to make sure your HVAC system is equipped for the rough weather ahead while ensuring your continued comfort with these simple tips.
You can prepare your home by pre-cooling it before a storm. If there’s a chance your power may go out during a storm, it’s a good idea to cool your home down in advance. That way you’ll stay comfortable while waiting for power to be restored. Start by setting your thermostat to a cooler setting than normal, then keep doors and windows shut and close any curtain or blinds, which helps keep the cool air trapped inside.
Electrical surges often occur when lightning strikes during a storm which can damage your air conditioning unit. You also run the risk of getting debris stuck in the outdoor unit which can then burn out the motor. It’s a good idea to turn off the electricity to your air conditioner. Play it safe by turning it off at the thermostat and circuit breaker.
Another good tip is to cover your outdoor air conditioning unit. This is especially important if you expect a hurricane or a storm with high winds. Turn off your air conditioner before you cover it. You can use a tarp or plywood to protect your unit from flying debris. Don’t forget to uncover your unit as soon as it’s safe. If it’s covered too long, you run the risk of developing mold and mildew.
Strapping or securing your outdoor air conditioning unit to keep it in place is an important step before a hurricane or strong storm. If you’ve recently installed a new unit, it should already be secured to a concrete slab via tie-down straps. This has been a requirement of Florida’s building code for the past several years. These tie-downs are wind-resistant for up to 150 mph winds, to prevent your unit from being jerked off its base and thrown by high winds.
The most important thing to remember is that you assess any damage to your system before you turn it back on. You could be creating a bigger problem by turning your system on if it has flooding or damage from flying debris. If you’re not sure, the safest bet is to have a professional technician inspect for damage after the storm. This will ensure it is operating safely and properly.
With this storm season starting up early, start planning ahead and be prepared to ensure you and your family stay safe and comfortable no matter what Mother Nature tries to throw at you. Rainaldi Home Services is your Florida HVAC expert. Give us a call at (407) 413-9795 or contact us online for all of your HVAC questions and concerns.
1 BERARDELLI, JEFF. “A Tropical Weather System Is Developing near Florida. Is This a Sign of a Busy Season Ahead?” CBS News, CBS Interactive, 15 May 2020, www.cbsnews.com/news/tropical-weather-system-storm-near-florida-hurricane-season-ahead/.