Protecting your largest electronic investment against lightning and power surges associated with Florida storms starts with having proper maintenance routinely done on your AC unit. During routine maintenance calls, our techs ensure your unit is properly draining especially during the high humidity before and during storms. This time period often causes high condensation which can lead to drainage backups, systems shutting down, and potential water damage without proper safety shut off switches.
Turning Off Your AC
It is recommended to turn the system off to prevent potential damage. Yes, the high humidity and heat can become miserable when you turn the unit off during a storm, but 30 minutes of excessive heat compared to a broken AC is definitely worth it. You can turn the unit off at the thermostat, but for full protection during severe electrical storms it is recommended to turn it off at the breaker. If you have window units, we recommend you remove them during tropical storms or hurricanes as they can become loose and air born.
Four Items to Protect Your Unit
To help further protect your AC from severe storms we recommend:
- Adding a Time Delay on the low voltage side of an outdoor unit. When you do have a flicker of power that is not registered by the equipment it does not give a surge to the unit and forces the unit to shut down for 5 minutes so you don’t start the compressor up when it is hot which could then cause compressor failure or damage.
- Installing a Hard Start Kit gives the compressor an extra “push” to get started without strain.
- Having a fully powered capacitor. Most capacitors are within specifications and during your routine maintenance check we will certify its dependability and safety. If your capacitor is not testing within specification we will recommend replacing it to prevent part system failure.
- Adding a Surge Protector. This helps absorb any additional energy surges going into the unit rather than the unit getting hit. It helps prevent potential damage to the circuitry as well as motors & compressor. You can also add an ECM surge protector specific to variable speed motors that protect the components within the integrated circuitry. If you have to replace the module it is probably one of the most expensive items to replace inside the motor.
Removing Debris around the exterior
Make sure the trees are trimmed so you do not have broken branches falling on your outdoor unit which could puncture the coils or get jammed inside the fan assembly. Large shrubbery should be at least 26-32 inches away from the AC unit. You should secure any patio furniture, tools or toys on your property that might become air bound during a storm and strike your air conditioner.
If there is a hurricane, you may want to secure your unit with hurricane straps to protect it from moving. You may also want to tighten the bolts on the unit base to secure the it.
After the storm has passed it is a good idea to survey the damage and call a licensed HVAC company that is able to assess any damaged that has been done. Scott’s One Hour Air Conditioning & Heating understands how important your cool air is in your home. If your air conditioner is damaged give us a call and we will quickly dispatch one of our licensed tech to fix the unit so you can enjoy the comfort of cool air flowing through your home again.