Florida residents are no stranger to all the natural drama that comes with a hurricane. High winds, torrential rain, and flash flooding can do any amount of damage to a home and community. Hurricane season means storm prep for those in high risk areas.

But while you’re boarding up windows, buying sandbags, and stocking up on water bottles, are you taking steps to protect your air conditioning system from costly damage? Chances are that you are weathering the storm inside and won’t be able to run out to check on it, so you will want to make sure it’s well protected.

Here are some tips on how to prepare and protect your HVAC system from hurricane weather.

Take (Or Make) Shelter for Your Unit

When you’re expecting a heavy storm in your area, make sure you shut down your air conditioning system. Cut off the power from a master shut off switch or from the circuit breaker. Doing so will decrease your chances of a power surge damaging the system or getting shorted out by a flood.

Outside, you should take measures to physically protect your A/C unit. Cover the equipment with a tarp that can be securely fastened to the ground or another solid object. If you’re in an area that experiences frequent storms, you may even want to invest in building a wooden box to give your air conditioning unit the best chance of survival. Covering the unit will keep debris, tree limbs, and excessive rain from damaging parts and causing collateral damage.

For window unit owners, it’s a lot easier to keep your air conditioning safe. Just unplug it and bring it inside.

In Sunny Skies…

After the storm passes and the hurricane moves out of your area, it’s not a good idea to immediately just hit the power and fire up your air conditioning. There is a risk of water, debris, or other contaminants in the system that could be lodged in fans or ducts. There is also the chance that electrical or coolant lines could be damaged. Before you flip the power switch on, you should have an HVAC professional give the system a thorough inspection to make sure that everything is still intact and safe.

If it is particularly hot or humid in your area, as it often is after a hurricane, and your system has taken damage during the storm, take advantage of portable units to hold you over and keep your home comfortable until you can get the central air unit repaired. If you have a generator on hand, you can also use that to power your A/C in the case of a power outage.

Tampa locals can sometimes be unfazed by the threat of a hurricane, but each storm should be given a healthy amount of respect for the damage it can cause. Never underestimate the difference preparing and protecting your air conditioning system can make. And if your system does sustain any damage, you can have the confidence that our professionals at Ocean Air Conditioning can fix it. Contact us for your pre and post-hurricane needs in the Tampa Bay area.