People who live along the coastline know that hurricane season can extend well into the fall if the climate allows for it. It may seem rare, for example, for a hurricane to touch down on the Eastern seaboard in late October, but it has happened, and thankfully we have the means to prepare our homes before disaster strikes. Whether you plan to ride out the storm or evacuate, you want to make sure your home is secure before the storm hits. Having an HVAC checklist is a great way to help ensure your heating, cooling and ventilation systems are okay. Even if repairs are required after the storm, you can probably head off some serious damage if you know what to do.
When you know a hurricane is imminent, here are some suggested steps to follow in order to keep your HVAC unit protected from harm.
1) Turn off your air before the storm. By this time, too, you should have taped up your windows, so you may be concerned about air circulation during the storm. You might try a fan indoors provided you still have electricity and the fans are away from windows. Otherwise, think outside the box with regards to keeping cool or warm while you wait out the worst of the storm.
2) Remove anything from your yard that may come into contact with your outdoor unit. Hurricanes bring strong winds, which can send patio chairs and tables across the yard and further if they are not secured. Make sure there is nothing that could connect with your outdoor HVAC unit – potted plants, toys, bikes, furniture – and cause damage. If you have a tarp or fitted cover, secure it over the unit to keep branches and leaves from getting caught and use straps to keep the unit on the ground.
3) If you have a window air conditioner, you will need to remove it until the storm passes. Even if you have the unit secured, there is still the possibility wind will cause some damage to the unit, and ostensibly your home. All windows should be clear of blockage and secured in a hurricane. You can always reinstall the window unit later.
With your heating and cooling system taken care of, you can prepare for other emergencies. Have plenty of bottled water and non-perishable food items on hand, plus batteries for flashlights and radios and candles. When you know how to weather a storm, you should not have trouble getting everything together afterward.