Here in Florida, we get violent storms in the springtime, and then hurricane season gives us no respite till its official end in November. Most of us are well familiar with the basic storm precautions. However, your HVAC system and home infrastructure also need some spring storm preparation. Take the following steps if you know a strong storm is imminent:
- You usually have pretty good warning that a storm is approaching, though quick, pop-up thunderstorms aren’t unheard of. With enough warning, turn off your home’s cooling system at the circuit box to protect against power surges related to lightning strikes or outages in the electrical grid. If you’re using any portable window air conditioners, and know high winds and heavy rains are coming, unplug the A/C and remove it from the window, then carefully seal the window.
- If you plan to shut down your A/C system, crank it several degrees lower than the usual comfort level 30 minutes to an hour before you intend to shut it down (if you have that much warning). You’ll appreciate the extra cooling when your house stays comfortable all the longer after you shut down the air conditioning.
- Use power strip/surge protectors to protect HVAC equipment, electronics and heavy appliances before the storm hits. To be extra careful, unplug equipment. Special HVAC surge protectors are also available. For whole-house protection, get a point-of-entry surge protector.
- Cover the A/C or heat pump’s outside unit with a well-secured tarp or cover, to keep foreign objects from blowing in and damaging the sensitive equipment. Or at the very least, place a plywood board on top of the unit, with a very heavy object weighing it down. Walk around the yard and pick up any objects that might become dangerous projectiles in strong winds.
- Consider investing in a standby generator so even if the power goes out, you’ll still have electricity to run essential circuits, or with a big enough investment, your whole house, including the cooling system.
For more spring storm preparation tips for your Orlando-area home, please contact us at Rinaldi’s Energy Solutions.
Our goal is to help educate our customers in Orlando, Florida and surrounding areas about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).
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