Here in South Florida we get our share of winter storms. The storms may blow over quickly but they can hurt you AC. If you are without the AC due to storm damage, you will feel it indoors, until the technician calls to repair it. You know how hot it can get around here even in winter, and high temperatures often follow a storm.
Winter storms can hurt your AC unit in many ways. Some damage may be minimal, only cosmetic, with a few scratches here and there. Other damage is more severe and will cost you money. In these cases prevention is better than the cure and taking a few precautions may pay off in the long run.
A client asked their Engineered Air technician, out on a scheduled service call, for advice on winter storms. The technician was surprised at how little the client knew about them. His advice to the client makes for a good post on winter storms and minimalizing their damage to an AC unit. Understanding how winter storms can hurt your AC is key to devising a good prevention strategy.
A guide to an understanding of how winter storms hurt your AC includes:
- Power surges blow electrical components
- Beware of debris damage from trees and shrubs
- High winds can blow a unit over
- Steps to take to prevent damage to the AC unit
Let’s take a closer look at each point, to help your AC cope with winter storms.
Power surges blow electrical components
A winter storm will cause havoc with the electricity supply in your area. In South Florida we are used to high winds blowing over power lines and cutting supply to the home. The power can drop and rise suddenly during a storm, causing a lot of problems for your AC unit. Power surges also occur, pushing far higher voltage levels over the cables.
The AC unit may not be able to cope with such surges. Components in the unit can blow under the pressure, and the machine may even catch fire. Replacing the parts can be expensive, and it may be more cost effective to invest in a new unit.
Beware of debris damage from trees and shrubs
A more obvious side effect of the winter storms is debris hitting the unit. Tiles can blow off roofs, garden furniture may get loose, and we’ve heard of walls falling on units. Branches, uprooted shrubs and even trees may blow onto the AC unit, doing a lot of damage in the process.
Our South Florida winter storms do a lot of structural damage. Your AC unit is in the firing line out in the yard, and we got a lot of damaged condensers this time of year.
High winds can blow a unit over
High winds are another way a winter storm can hurt your unit. If the machine is not secured correctly it may be a sitting duck when the winds blow in off the Gulf or the Atlantic. A lot of damage happens when the unit topples over. Coils puncture and leak Freon, water from trays leak into the electrical components, and physical damage can stop the unit working.
Even minor damage like a bent fin or scratch to the paintwork may have long term implications. Often a customer will right a unit after a storm, only to find it stops working a few days later.
Steps to take to prevent damage to an AC unit
Many people claim on their home insurance for damage, but it is easier not to have the problem in the first place. There are steps to take to prevent or minimize damage to your AC unit from a winter storm. They can save you a lot of money too.
A power surge protector connected to the AC unit will stop components from burning out. Even marking the power breakers, so you can quickly turn off power to the unit is a good idea. Cutting back trees and shrubs and locking away garden furniture will lessen structural damage. Securing the unit prevents it from falling over in a storm.
We recommend you ask a technician for advice, and if you have not got a service call scheduled, do so today. Ask the technician about the steps to take and get them to do what is necessary to protect the unit during a storm.
At Engineered Air we know a lot about winter storms and the damage they can do to an AC unit.
Our technicians can advise you on the steps to take to prevent damage costing you money.
Schedule a technician for a service call and ask them about storm prevention.
Contact us today for your AC needs in South Florida.