Scientists warn us to expect more severe weather patterns than in years past. That means that each of us in the Philadelphia area needs to prepare for stormy weather year round.
Here are a few tips to get your HVAC unit ready for any storm.
Adjust the Temperature Inside Your Home
You don’t want to operate your HVAC during a storm, and yet, you want the temperature inside your home to be as comfortable as possible. One solution is to adjust the thermostat in preparation for the storm.
During any season other than winter, a severe storm usually includes warmer weather. The storm could leave you without power for a few hours. Therefore, it would be wise to lower the temperature inside your home before the storm hits. In a modern, well-insulated home, this simple step could keep you and your family from sweltering as you wait for the power to be restored.
If Possible, Disconnect the System
If the storm includes lightning, it’s best to turn off the system if that’s possible. Fortunately, outdoor units have a disconnect box mounted somewhere near the unit. Its location allows a technician to turn off the unit without having to enter the house. He can then safely work on it.
The method of disconnecting the HVAC will differ depending upon the type of disconnect box installed. Either way, the steps will be simple. You either flip a switch, or pull out a tab, or insert a handle into a slot.
You can also turn off the power from inside your home. Locate the circuit breaker box then find the breaker dedicated to the HVAC unit. Flip the switch to the OFF position to prevent electricity from flowing to the system and keeping a stray electrical charge generated by the storm from overwhelming the components and damaging the unit.
An additional safety method is to install a quality surge protector. Should the storm cause fluctuations in the electrical grid, the surge protector will prevent the electrical components in the HVAC from burning out. Make sure that the surge protector you choose is rated properly to handle the job.
Secure the HVAC Unit
When a storm includes dangerously high winds, it’s important that your outdoor HVAC unit is safely fastened to a concrete pad. If so, it’s doubtful that the masonry anchors are in any danger of failing unless somehow the surrounding concrete has previously suffered some structural damage.
If the unit is not secured, now is a good time to correct that problem by using hurricane straps also called hurricane ties to anchor the unit to its concrete footing. These galvanized brackets of metal come in different strengths so you can select the appropriate one for the severity of the windstorms in your area.
Remove Possible Projectiles
Take a good look at your lawn. What items could heavy winds easily move about? You should either take these items indoors are secure them in some way.
If left in the yard, they will become high-speed projectiles that could damage your HVAC unit. Dangerous items include yard and garden tools, toys, automotive parts, outdoor furniture, outdoor grills, potted plants, and leftover home improvement materials such as scrap wood and screws and nails.
Cover Your Outdoor HVAC Unit
Under normal conditions, it’s not necessary to cover your outdoor HVAC unit when it’s not in use because its design makes it capable of surviving a wide range of weather conditions. However, a severe storm with heavy winds is a different matter.
High winds could send grass clippings, pine straw, mulch, sand, dirt, twigs, and bugs into your heating and cooling system. You can prevent the time and money involved in cleaning your system by simply covering the unit with a tarp. Choose a tarp that can handle the storm. Also, make sure that there is a way of adequately securing it.
Get an Expert Opinion
You don’t have to prepare for Philadelphia stormy weather alone. If you want an experienced technician to inspect your HVAC unit before a storm arrives, contact HVAC Philly. We can’t make the storm go away, but we can make sure that your HVAC unit is well-prepared.