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How To Protect Your AC Unit During Hurricane Season

air conditioning unit
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About this time of year, residents of South Florida start preparing for hurricane season. They start buying emergency supplies, reviewing insurance policies, planning evacuation routes, and taking the necessary steps to protect their home and assets. One of the major appliances that require special consideration is the air conditioner.

Your AC unit needs to be protected from the lashing rains and gale-force winds during hurricane season. By being proactive, and following a few simple steps, you can minimize and even prevent damage to your AC, even in the strongest of storms.

How To Protect Your AC During A Hurricane

Hurricanes are known to cause damage and destruction to buildings and property. Unfortunately, your AC is not safe from storm damage, but there are some ways to minimize the risk.

Regular AC Maintenance

Your air conditioner must have regular inspection and maintenance to remain in tip-top shape. Regular maintenance will ensure that minor problems, that can be exasperated by a storm, are repaired before hurricane season.

Switch The AC Off At The Circuit Breaker

While it is unlikely that your unit will be struck by lightning, power surges during a storm are not uncommon. It’s not enough to just turn the AC off during a storm. You need to cut the power supply to the unit by switching off the circuit breaker. This will protect the unit against electrical fires and damage caused by power surges.

Protect Outdoor Units

Always consult a professional before covering your outdoor AC unit. An AC technician will assist you to:

  • Secure the unit with special hurricane-proof straps. They will ensure the unit is secured tightly to remain in place, even in strong wind.
  • Cover the unit (if necessary) with an AC-specific tarp, or prefabricated wood, metal, or plywood frame. Not all covering is effective or safe to use on an air conditioner, so you must seek professional advice.
  • Lift it off the ground if necessary. An air conditioner is a complex appliance with many components and must only be relocated by a qualified technician. Never attempt to move the unit yourself.

Secure The Outdoor Area

Outdoor AC units are very vulnerable to damage during a storm. Excluding damage from the lashing rain and gale-force winds, they are also susceptible to flying debris. Some ways to minimize this risk include:

  • Secure all outdoor furniture and items that cannot be brought indoors. Use specific hurricane-proof straps/ties wherever possible.
  • Trim all plants and trees, especially those close to the unit. Ensure you clean up and dispose of all loose foliage and branches that could be picked up by strong winds.

Remove Window Units

It is advisable to remove window units and shutter the windows closed wherever possible. Leaving window units in place leaves them and the wall unnecessarily vulnerable to storm damage.

Signs The AC Unit May Be Damaged

Despite taking all the necessary precautions, your AC may still suffer from storm damage. Consult an AC technician to assess the unit if you notice any of the following:

Physical Damage

Contact a technician to inspect the unit if you notice any of the following signs of physical damage:

  • Loose or damaged wiring
  • A displaced condenser unit
  • Mud and debris – this may be an indication that water has entered the system

Water Pooling

The air conditioner should never be submerged in water. If you suspect any water damage, have it inspected before turning it on.

Strange Noises

If your AC is making a screeching, rattling, or buzzing noise, it needs immediate inspection and possibly repairs.

It Will Not Power On

If the air conditioner will not power on after a storm, there is a good chance that it was damaged by an electrical power surge. Contact a technician to inspect the unit.

A Burning Odor

If the air conditioner emits a burning odor, contact a technician. The burnt smell indicates the motor is overheating. This could be due to burnt wires, fuses, or a damaged compressor.

The AC Is Not Cooling The Room

The AC has sustained damage, and needs to be inspected, if it is not cooling the area properly. The storm could have damaged the motor, clogged the condenser (debris), or damaged a pipe causing the refrigerant to leak.

Art Plumbing, Air Conditioning & Electric, AC Technicians Of Choice In South Florida

Art Plumbing, Air Conditioning & Electric have over 40 years of experience in all things AC. Needing advice on how to protect your unit in hurricane season? Is your AC unit needing maintenance or repair? We are here for you. Call us at 1-800-475-1504 and let the experts put your mind at ease.


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