Thursday, June 3, 2010

Are You Ready for Hurricane Season?

The beginning of June not only signals the coming of summer, but a time to think about hurricane preparation. If you have lived in an area that is highly susceptible to tropical storms, you may already know how to gather materials for an evacuation and first aid kit, and you know how to board up windows and bring in outdoor furniture so it doesn't blow away and cause damage. Probably the last thing on your mind is your home's HVAC system - something like that can take care of itself in bad weather, right?

While it's true that outdoor systems are likely to withstand high winds, you want to be certain to take care of everything within the home in the event you have to leave for safety's sake. Where your air conditioning and heating is concerned, it is necessary to turn off your A/C unit and, if you have any window units, unplug them entirely. Should you lose power during the storm, you minimize the risk of electrical damage if everything is not functioning.

If you know a hurricane is imminent, invest in a cover for your outdoor unit to protect it from the onslaught of rain and debris. Covers may run from about twenty dollars to more for sturdier material, and make for a good buy if you wish to prevent damage to your HVAC.

After the hurricane has passed, you do not want to immediately turn your air back on. First assess the overall condition of your home and the electricity. If you remain without power, the A/C will not work anyway, and if you suspect your HVAC system did not withstand the storm as you hoped, consider making an appointment with a heating and cooling company to inspect your equipment.

Don't let the late summer storms keep you from staying cool this season. Know how to take care of your HVAC unit in inclement weather, and be mindful of dings and damage in the aftermath so problems can be fixed in a timely manner.

-- Kathryn Lively