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How to Protect Your AC Compressor During Hurricane Season

Branches downed by a huricane

Homeowners in Georgia and Alabama are no strangers to hurricane season, which runs from June 1st to November 30th this year. High wind speeds, heavy flooding, and other severe weather can pose a danger to your outdoor air conditioning equipment as it is exposed to the elements. Energy Savers explains how to protect your AC compressor from damage during a hurricane or other inclement weather conditions.

How to Protect Your AC Compressor During Hurricanes and Harsh Weather

Because your air conditioner’s compressor is installed outside, these units are built tough to withstand the weather. However, tropical storms and hurricanes aren’t typical weather conditions so your air conditioner can benefit from some protective measures when a storm hits. 

Prepare in Advance

Here’s how to protect your HVAC system compressor prior to the arrival of bad weather:

  • Maintain landscaping, and remove potential hazards to your outdoor air conditioning system. Prune trees and shrubs near the unit to keep branches away from the air conditioner. Check trees on the property for dead branches and remove them, as high winds can send them and other flying debris hurtling towards your AC system. Clean up yard debris like grass clippings, loose mulch, and leaves, which can get blown inside the unit and clog the compressor.
  • Make sure the outdoor air conditioning unit is properly secured on its mounting pad. If the unit wobbles or is loose, have your HVAC contractor come out to level the unit and replace broken equipment feet or brackets so the unit is safe. 
  • If your unit is situated below the home’s guttering, make sure your gutters and downspouts are clean and correctly draining. Fix any drainage or pitch issues to avoid excess water spilling out of the gutters and into the air conditioner during periods of heavy rain.

Right Before Bad Weather Arrives

Protecting your AC compressor involves some additional steps that should be saved for the period just ahead of the storm’s arrival:

  • Many homeowners prefer to cover the AC unit prior to a storm to add a layer of protection against falling debris that could become lodged inside the compressor. Cover your outdoor unit with a heavy canvas tarp or a cut piece of plywood, and secure the covering so that it does not blow off. 
  • If you have a rooftop-mounted air conditioner, installing hurricane straps before a strong storm will provide extra security to keep the unit in place.
  • Secure any outdoor furniture, grills, and other items, or store them indoors during the weather event. These items could become projectiles in high winds, crashing into your air conditioner and causing damage.
  • A few hours before the weather is predicted to turn bad, turn down your cooling a few degrees to pre-cool the house. You’ll want to make the house a bit cooler than normal because you should turn off power to the air conditioner before the storm arrives. Power outages, lightning strikes, or flooding could cause the circuit board and other elements to fry. Turn off power at the home’s circuit breaker to protect your AC compressor from this damage.

How to Protect Your Air Conditioner Compressor After a Storm

Once the storm has passed and it’s safe to go outside, the first thing you want to do is tend to the outdoor unit:

  • Remove the covering from your outdoor air conditioner unit. You never want to leave a cover on the unit for longer than absolutely necessary, as it can hold moisture inside the unit causing rust, mildew, and mold within.
  • Remove any debris that has gathered up around the base of the unit or along its fins so that the air conditioner receives proper airflow when in use.
  • Visually inspect the air conditioner for damage. Check for dents in the exterior cabinet, loose mounting, and other signs the unit was impacted by the storm. Have any issues noted repaired before resuming use of the air conditioner.
  • If your air conditioner was exposed to flooding and standing water, or if you are unsure if the unit was impacted by floodwaters, have the unit inspected by a professional before further use.
  • If your unit is uncovered and undamaged, or it has been inspected and repaired by a professional, restore power and continue use of the air conditioner indoors.

Air Conditioner Repairs in Georgia and Alabama

With the right knowledge, protecting your AC compressor during hurricane weather is a breeze! If you need assistance making repairs to secure your air conditioner prior to a storm or a damage inspection and repair service following inclement weather, call Energy Savers today.

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