Preparing Your A/C for Flooding and Storms

Even when you’re not in the direct path of a hurricane or large tropical storm, it can still bring flooding to your area. Water and electrical appliances, including your A/C unit, don’t mix. While most outdoor A/C units are designed to handle inclement weather, they aren’t designed to be immersed in water. Also, the metal components might inherently resist water, but the electrical components do not. Flood water can also carry small particles into previously sealed motor bearings and/or clog coils, which may not cause an immediate problem, but could cause total system failure in the near future. High winds and heavy rain can spell disaster for your air conditioner or HVAC unit, so take these steps to protect it before a storm or flood to avoid costly replacement.

Before the Storm Hits

Pay attention to the weather so you have plenty of warning before a major storm hits. Anytime flooding is imminent or excessive wind speeds are predicted, make vital preparations to ensure your A/C unit receives the least amount of damage.

Step 1: Turn off the electricity to your unit.

This is the most critical step to protecting your A/C unit. Leaving your unit on during a storm can cause serious damage from power surges, lightning strikes or constant power interruptions. You could also burn out the motor should it become clogged with debris. Unplug the unit, if applicable, and shut off the breaker. Never turn the unit back on during the storm, even if your home is becoming unbearably hot, it could damage your unit and endanger your family.

Step 2: Remove debris and other items that could cause damage.

Wind can be just as damaging as water. Clear the area around your A/C unit to eliminate anything that could blow into or fall on top of your unit and damage it. Trim trees with large branches that could fall on the unit. Put away objects like bicycles, outdoor furniture, gardening tools, planters or anything that could be caught by the wind and crash into your unit. High-speed winds can cause debris that normally wouldn’t harm your unit to crash into it with enough force to cause damage.

Step 3: Anchor and cover your unit for further protection.

Storms with extremely strong winds can actually blow your outside unit over or move it out of place. Properly anchor your system to the ground for extra stability. Secure your unit with condenser straps or bolt the system to a concrete pad. Cover your unit with a heavy-duty tarp or plywood to keep out as much rain as possible and further protect it from flying debris. You can also opt to install a metal cage around the unit or build a small shed out of 2x4s to further protect it from damage during a storm.

If you live in an area prone to flooding, even lighter rain showers could cause flooding. Watch for rising storm water and consider elevating your unit, instead of leaving it on ground level. Flooding not only exposes your A/C unit to water, but also debris that gets washed inside the unit. Either could cause problems when you turn the unit back on. A thorough inspection and cleaning is necessary, especially if your unit was under water.

How to Improve your A/C’s Performance During the Summertime

The hot days of summer put your air conditioner to the test, straining its capabilities and making it work its hardest. However, improving your A/C unit’s performance is possible while saving energy and reducing your utility bills at the same time. The following four tips can help you achieve efficient climate control with your air conditioner this summer. 

Change Your A/C Unit’s Air Filter

Over time, your air conditioner’s filter collects dirt, dust and grime; this layer of debris lowers airflow, worsens your home’s air quality and generally makes your A/C unit work harder. Besides reducing its cooling capabilities, this extra strain on your air conditioner can shorten its lifespan. How often you’ll need to change your filter will depend on your specific unit. ac blowing warm air

Take Advantage of Shade

Protecting your air conditioner’s outdoor unit from direct sunlight can help boost its efficiency by as much as 10 percent. If your unit is currently exposed to the sun’s rays, you can create your own shade by building a wall or ventilated enclosure.

Patch Any Leaks Around Your Home

Holes and cracks throughout your home that let cool air escape make your air conditioner work harder and reduce its ability to cool effectively. Take a look around your windows and examine your exterior walls for leaks; sealing with caulk or insulation can make a big difference.

Clean Your Air Conditioner’s Condenser

Your air conditioner’s condenser will collect dirt, lawn clippings, twigs and other debris over time, reducing the unit’s efficiency. Make sure to clean your A/C condenser at least twice a year, including at the beginning of summer.

Unsure that you’ve done all that you can to maximize your air conditioner’s efficiency and performance during the hottest months of the year? The professionals at Efficient Climate Control can help. Contact us today to schedule service.