How to Protect Your Air Conditioner from Summer Storms & Power Surges

air conditioners

Here in Central Indiana, summer storms can create a great deal of destruction. A weather system can pose many hazards to your home’s HVAC system. Storms bring lightning which can strike and cause a power surge or result in electrical damage to your air conditioner, high winds pick up debris from your yard and send matter crashing into your home as well as the outdoor air conditioning unit, hail causes damage to the condenser, and heavy rain may lead to flooding that could destroy the cooling unit. Once the storm has passed, your homeowner’s insurance may not cover all the destruction and repair or replacement services needed to fix HVAC equipment.

It’s a good idea to prepare for storms and inclement summer weather ahead of time to minimize harm to your HVAC unit. Protect air conditioner from summer storms with the tips below from Williams Comfort Air. Take steps to shield your AC unit from lightning strikes, electricity surges, and other unpredictable conditions now – when you help protect your AC now, you’re protecting your comfort and wallet in advance.

Prepare Ahead of Storm Season

Even before summer, you can take steps to protect against possible storm damage.

Review Your Insurance Coverage

During a storm, your outdoor HVAC equipment can be harmed by flooding, falling debris, high winds, tornadoes, lightning strikes, and hail. It’s a good idea make sure you’re protected now.

  • Review your homeowner’s policy to verify your AC system is covered in likely storm scenarios.
  • If you have questions about your policy and what it covers or wish to increase coverage, call your agent to discuss your needs.

Make Home Upgrades

Specific home improvement projects can provide protection and peace of mind when the stormy season starts. Consider your options now and contact a skilled professional to make these upgrades to your home.

  • Plug-in power strips unfortunately don’t provide the protection you expect in the event of an electric surge. Even if they did, your home’s major appliances like the air conditioner, heating unit, and other equipment do not plug into standard outlets. Whole house surge protectors cover the home’s entire electric system as well as anything plugged into it should a surge occur during seasonal storms.
  • If your home is prone to utility outages during storms, a backup generator can provide electricity for essentials until emergency service completes repairs. Generators can be configured to start automatically when a lack of electricity is detected and this equipment comes in various capacities so you can decide which systems and equipment you want to keep running during an outage.

Keep Your Yard Clear

When a storm approaches, you have a lot on your mind – picking up the yard probably doesn’t make the list. Branches, lawn furniture, and outdoor toys can become projectiles during a storm and cause damage to your air conditioning equipment or the home. Instead, make this maintenance part of your normal routine to help protect your air conditioner when foul weather arrives.

  • Remove dead branches from trees and keep trees neatly trimmed.
  • Store patio furniture, grills, tools, and lawn toys in a secure location such as a utility shed or the home’s garage.
  • If you prefer to leave large items outdoors throughout the season, make sure they are secured to your patio, deck, or the house itself.

What to Do Right Before a Storm

When the weather forecast shows a summer storm is moving in, it’s time to get to work and protect your air conditioner from potential harm.

Cool the Home Before a Storm

A lightning strike or a downed tree due to high winds can knock out your home’s power during summer storms. If you don’t have a backup generator, you’ll have no way to cool your house throughout the utility outage. If you suspect your home may lose power in a coming storm, take steps ahead of time to cool your home and keep everyone comfortable until power is restored.

  • Lower the thermostat temperature a few degrees below your usual setting so your home has plenty of cool air to last as emergency service contractors from your utility provider work to repair downed power lines.
  • Close window coverings and keep windows and doors shut. These tips help your home retain the cool air created by your air conditioner so your home will stay comfortable for a longer period.

Protect Your AC Unit

An outdoor air conditioner is designed to last through constant exposure to the elements. It’s not necessary to cover the unit during summer storms, but doing so can provide some added protection from flying or falling debris.

  • Turn off the air conditioner – only cover the unit once you are ready to shut it down for the coming storm, as running the condenser and system while covered can seriously damage the equipment.
  • Place a tarp or piece of plywood over the unit’s top. Fasten the tarp so it fits around the unit securely and secure the plywood cover so they won’t blow away in the wind.

Remember, once the storm has passed, do not start up air conditioners with any covers still in place. Uncover the condenser right away to stop moisture from staying trapped inside the unit, which could cause mold and mildew growth.

Secure Your Air Conditioning Equipment

If your outdoor air conditioning unit is exposed or elevated on a rooftop or platform, make sure it is firmly strapped into place. Strong wind gusts may cause AC units to topple.

Shut Off Electricity to Air Conditioning Units

If lightning hits your home or strikes nearby in your yard, it may send a surge of power through your electrical system and connected equipment, such as your HVAC system. Power surges from storms can fry system components or wiring, and may damage the unit beyond repair. By cutting the system’s electrical connection, you can protect your unit from serious surge damage.

  • Turn off electricity to your heating and cooling system at the breaker inside your home.
  • Also, shut off the air conditioning unit at your home’s thermostat.

After Poor Conditions Have Passed

Once it is safe to go outside again, check the condition of your home and AC unit.

Inspect the AC Unit for Damage

If debris, wind, and other storm-related issues have damaged your AC, you don’t want to run the system before these problems are repaired – doing so has the potential to cause further harm to air conditioning units.

  • Uncover the condenser and visually assess the equipment for damage.
  • Remove debris that has fallen into the equipment or gathered along the condenser fins.
  • Call your HVAC professional to inspect your cooling unit and perform repair services if you suspect damage.

Air Conditioner Repairs in Central Indiana

Summer weather can pose a danger to your outdoor cooling equipment. If you suspect your exterior air conditioner or heat pump has been impacted by floods, high winds, hail, or other weather-related damage, contact Williams Comfort Air today to have your system inspected and repaired if needed.

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