This past week the Kalamazoo area was hit with a major wind and thunderstorm with a tornado in the area. The first step in protecting your HVAC system during a storm is to protect your HVAC system before a storm. Typically, you know when a storm is coming, particularly if it’s a really bad one that could do a lot of damage. Lately in Southwestern Michigan, it seems like we’ve been having a couple of storms a week. Rain, wind, hail, and lightening are all factors that can damage your unit. Protect your unit this summer by following these tips:
- Prevent Against Flood Damage. Make sure that when your HVAC unit is installed, it is installed on a higher level, particularly if your area is prone to flooding (You can learn about floodwater heights in your area from the city’s building commission and in some cases online). If your HVAC unit is installed below the flood line, we can provide information about how to raise it. One more precaution to take is to make sure you have a sump pump installed which will automatically pump water out when the water reaches a certain level.
- Keep Your Yard Clean from Debris. One of the top two offenders of HVAC damage during a storm is debris that flies around in the strong winds (the other is hail). While you cannot protect your HVAC from something that may fly in from your neighbor’s yard, you can make sure the area around your HVAC unit is kept tidy. Prior to a storm, take your patio furniture inside to avoid hitting your HVAC (or creating other damage either to the furniture or house). Pick up the sticks and branches in your yard and make sure to check for dead branches in the trees that may easily come loose in the storm (and that may damage more than just your HVAC!)
- Do Not Use Your Unit During the Storm. Avoid electrical power surges (which can create massive damage in just a second) by turning off all heat and air conditioning at the thermostat. But even better yet is to switch off the circuit breaker that controls the units until after the storm is over.
- Cover and Secure the System. Make sure the HVAC system is anchored properly and consider covering the unit with a strong canvas tarp. You can also place hail guards over the more delicate parts of the unit.
- Inspect the Unit Before Turning it Back On. After the storm is over, go outside and inspect your unit before moving forward. Do not touch the unit if there are power lines down or near it. Make sure to clear out any debris, check for water around the unit, remove the cover, and change the air filter.
If after a storm you do notice that your equipment has been damaged, please give us a call rather than risking injury to yourself or risking further damage to the unit. We’ve earned a reputation in the Kalamazoo area for doing the job right the first time, so you can rely on us to quickly get your unit operational again.