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Tips to Keep Your AC Safe During Florida’s Hurricane Season

It’s still relatively early in Florida’s hurricane season, but the damage caused to the Tallahassee area by 2018’s Hurricane Michael is still fresh in many people’s minds. This makes many area homeowners consider how they will protect themselves and their property if a hurricane starts tracking our way. Common hurricane preparation steps Floridians turn to include:

  • Reviewing evacuation routes and emergency shelter locations
  • Securing or removing outdoor furniture and other objects that could become windblown
  • Stocking up on non-perishable food and water
  • Checking emergency lighting, battery supply, and camp stoves
  • Testing backup generators
  • Boarding up windows and glass doors
  • Ensuring the safety and well-being of any pets

All these steps help prevent damage and promote safety, but does your hurricane planning cover protection of your ac system?

If not, the air conditioning experts at Tallahassee’s Air Control Heating and Cooling can give you tips on keeping your air conditioner safe from hurricane damage. With more than 50 years of HVAC experience in the north-central Florida area, we’ve weathered some storms and know how to take care of air conditioning systems, so read on:

Before the Hurricane Arrives

If your outdoor AC unit isn’t already firmly secured to its base with hurricane strapping, consider ordering strapping installation now. A category four or higher hurricane packs a damaging punch with 150-plus mph winds. This can blow an unsecured unit off its base. You should also consider installing a surge protector for your system to help protect the electronics from potential surges resulting from power outages.

As the storm approaches and the likelihood of it hitting our area increases, pre-cool your home. Do this by turning down the temperature several degrees. When the wind starts to build, though, it’s time to turn your air conditioner off. Leaving your air conditioner on during a hurricane exposes it to erratic power cycling. This might occur with repeated power outages. Irregular electrical power delivery can damage the AC’s compressor and other components.

You should also cover your outdoor unit with a tarp to protect it from excessive rain and smaller windblown debris. For additional protection from larger flying debris, consider encasing it with plywood. If you have any window units, turn them off, unplug them, and remove them from the window. Remove the ducts and seal the opening if you have a portable air conditioner with discharge ducts through a window or other exhaust port.

During the Storm

If the wind is starting to howl and the rain is coming down in sheets, but you haven’t yet taken care of the pre-storm AC prep actions, at the very least, turn your air conditioner off. At this point, you probably shouldn’t be outside trying to cover the outdoor unit. Nor should you be taking care of other details unless you believe you can do it safely and successfully.

Once the Hurricane has Passed

Once you’re sure that the hurricane has passed—and don’t be fooled by the eye of the storm—you can remove any tarping, plywood, and temporary strapping and inspect the outdoor unit for damage. If you believe your AC unit has been damaged by flying debris, excess water ingress, or a lightning strike, do not turn the system on, as this could cause additional damage. If there’s signs of damage, contact an AC repair service technician, like the ones at Air Control Heating and Cooling. Additionally, your system should be inspected if you know that the home experienced a damaging power surge and your AC system was not protected by a surge protector.

If you have power and your inspection did not identify any potential damage, turn your AC on as soon as possible. The high-heat, high-moisture weather event will quickly stimulate the growth of mold, mildew, and bacteria in your system and ductwork. The quick delivery of fresh cool air by your AC can help prevent that from happening

Turn to the Experts for AC Help

Whether you need pre-storm strapping and/or surge protection or for a post-hurricane service inspection, the expert technicians at Air Control Heating and Cooling can help you out. We’ve been delivering outstanding HVAC service, maintenance, installation, and equipment sales, to our customers in the Tallahassee, Havana, Quincy, Monticello, and Crawfordville area for almost 50 years. For all of your air conditioning needs, you can reach us at (850) 562-1234.