As hurricane season has arrived in Virginia Beach and the 757 area, many homeowners are preparing for extreme weather conditions and blackouts. While stocking up on supplies and planning your evacuation route are important, so is preparing your home and its components—like your HVAC system.
Worley’s Home Services has been helping Southside homeowners with their HVAC systems since 2016 and much of our service area is coastal. Because these areas are vulnerable to hurricanes, flooding, and power outages, having a plan of action to help your HVAC system brave the storm is a crucial step in avoiding extensive damage.
Keep reading to learn some tips on HVAC system preparation for hurricanes and other big storms.
- Protect Your AC’s Outdoor Unit
Your air conditioner’s outdoor unit, also known as the compressor, will be exposed to the elements during a storm. In order to keep the compressor safe, there are a few protective steps you can take like securing it, elevating it, and cleaning up your yard.
Use Hurricane Straps & Covers
Hurricanes come with high-speed winds capable of causing extensive damage and even moving your HVAC compressor. Using nylon straps or even metal brackets can help secure your system to its base and keep it safe throughout the storm.
Elevate the Compressor
Flood damage is a common occurrence in the aftermath of a hurricane and installing a concrete pad to elevate your AC’s compressor can ensure its safety—in fact, many building codes in the area require it! In addition to flood protection, concrete hurricane pads also help strengthen your outdoor unit’s base in the event of strong winds.
Clean Up Your Yard
One of the most common sources of damage during a hurricane is trees and landscaping. Torrential rains and wind can cause branches and other debris to wreak havoc in your yard, potentially damaging your compressor. Before the storm arrives, it’s important to trim your trees and keep the area around your AC unit clear of debris.
- Turn Off Your HVAC During Severe Weather
Power interruptions during a hurricane can actually cause damage to your HVAC system that could lead to costly repairs or even the need for a replacement. Your HVAC can overheat from the fluctuations in power and voltage and the best thing to do during a storm is to turn the system off completely. If your home uses gas or oil, it’s also important to turn off the gas lines into your home before a hurricane.
Before the storm hits, you can “pre-cool” your home by setting the thermostat a few degrees cooler than normal so it can maintain a cool temperature for longer. When the power in your area returns, turn on your home’s power supply, but wait until you’re sure the risk of another outage or surge is low before turning your HVAC on again.
- Schedule HVAC Maintenance
When the storm has subsided, it’s important to check your HVAC system for damage before turning it back on. Things to look out for include:
- Signs of water damage, like water lines or leaks
- Properly connected electrical and refrigerant lines
- Debris around the compressor
- Mildewy smells coming from your air vents
Even if you don’t see any of these signs of damage, it’s probably a good idea to call Worley’s for HVAC maintenance just in case. During a thorough inspection from one of our technicians, we’ll examine your entire system for damage and also determine if your HVAC system is ready for the next big storm.
Call Your Virginia Beach and Southside HVAC Experts
Whether you have a heat pump or a traditional air conditioner paired with a furnace, Worley’s Home Services can make sure your HVAC system is prepared in the event of a hurricane. Our trained and experienced technicians are committed to providing safe and reliable HVAC services both before or after a big storm in the area with your safety at the top of mind. From emergency services, water damage repairs, or even a full replacement, the Worley’s team is here for you!