Hurricanes can bring devastating damage, and that includes to your air conditioner. The outdoor unit is more exposed to the elements than almost any other part of your home. Here's what you can do to make sure your air conditioner survives.
Before the Storm
You generally don't need to cover your air conditioner before a hurricane. Remember that it gets rained on all the time. In fact, it can be better for humidity control and your overall comfort if you leave it running. The one exception is if you have a lot of leaves or other debris in the area. Covering your air conditioner can keep debris from getting inside of it and leaving you with a messy cleanup job or worse.
The main thing you should worry about before the storm is preventing flooding if your air conditioner is in a low-lying area. Prolonged submersion in water can lead to electrical damage. Most air conditioners are elevated a few inches, but this may not be enough for hurricane amounts of rain. Use sandbags around your air conditioner to block floodwaters, but leave a few inches for ventilation. You're more worried about blocking water runoff than the rain coming from above.
During the Storm
Many people think you should turn your air conditioner off during a storm, but you don't need to. Remember, the air circulates inside of your home — it doesn't get pulled in from the outdoor unit. If you've left your air conditioner covered so you can keep running it, run it as cold as you feel comfortable with to help keep your home cool longer if the power goes out.
After the Storm
When the storm passes, check your outdoor unit to make sure it's free of debris. If you see that it's clogged up, has dents or other signs of damage, or has been flooded, do not turn it back on until you've had an air conditioning repair company inspect it. Any mechanical or electrical damage could become much worse if you try to run it.
If the structure of your home has been compromised in any way, don't run your air conditioner until you've had a full inspection of your entire system, including the ducts. Again, a small problem that you might not see on your own could lead to a more expensive repair if you don't have your system properly checked.
To learn more about how to protect your air conditioner or to request a post-storm inspection or repair, contact a local air conditioning system repair company today.