4 Ways to Protect Your Home’s HVAC Systems Against Natural Disasters
May 13, 2021
It only takes an inch—one inch of standing flood water to be exact—to cause $25,000 of damage to your home, according to FEMA.gov. While you may not consider yourself at risk for floods, Mother Nature has proven to be extra unpredictable this past year. Especially in the United States, where the size and geographic diversity allow for a wide variety of natural disasters on a frequent basis.
Whether it’s severe winter storms, floods, tornados, hurricanes, earthquakes, wildfires or some other natural event that can cause extreme damage to property and people, homeowners should do their best to prepare and protect their homes and things in and around it before the storm hits. Follow these four tips for protecting your home’s HVAC systems—before and after disaster strikes:
1. Turn off Your HVAC Systems
The first thing you should do when a natural disaster of any kind is set to hit is to cut off the energy supply to your HVAC systems at the circuit breaker. This is especially important if there is any flooding happening in or around your systems, which could cause electrocution if you’re not careful.
Shutting off the breaker also lowers the risk of a power surge, which is more likely to happen during or after a natural disaster and can severely damage your home’s appliances. If you live in an area prone to extreme weather, especially storms and lighting strikes, talk to a professional about installing a whole house surge protector or using plug-in surge protector power strips to better protect your home and appliances.
2. Protect Outdoor Units from Strong Winds and Flying Debris
Strong winds can be a major threat to any outdoor HVAC system, not only because they can cause outdoor equipment to be uprooted from place, but they also allow for an increase of flying debris that could physically damage your unit.
Before any extreme weather is expected, especially windstorms, hurricanes or tornados, ensure that your outdoor unit is securely in place and firmly mounted on its platform or base by tightening any bolts and screws. You can also invest in hurricane straps, which anchor your unit to its platform or base.
Additionally, be cautious of your unit’s nearby surroundings. Make sure the land around your HVAC equipment is cleared of any items that may physically move and damage your unit, like outdoor furniture, potted plants, grills, lawn tools or something else.
3. Prepare Systems for Rising Water
Rising waters can be detrimental to your home’s indoor and outdoor HVAC equipment. If you live by a river, lake or other body of water and your home is susceptible to floods, ensure your HVAC systems are out of harm’s way.
Any outdoor units should be elevated on a concrete platform or patio stones. Talk to a professional about the preferred height of your unit’s platform. The landscape surrounding your unit should also be able to withstand rising waters—you can do this by grading your yard for proper drainage.
If at any point your outdoor or indoor unit was touching or submerged under flowing water, have a professional come to your home to inspect it before you turn the system back on. They’ll check for any damage or contamination, like mold growth, and to ensure everything is safe and working properly.
4. Continue Regular HVAC Maintenance
Regular HVAC maintenance is always important, but it’s especially important if you live in an area prone to natural disasters. The best thing you can do to continue protecting your property and your HVAC investments is to have a technician come to your home before and after any type of natural disaster occurs—even if you think your systems look fine. A professional will be able to inspect your systems fully to ensure everything is running smoothly and properly.
Natural disasters can happen at a moment’s notice. Schedule a time for a Rheem Pro Partner to visit your home for maintenance before and after disaster strikes.