Four Tips for Protecting Your HVAC Unit from Storm Damage

August 25, 2023

Did you know that according to Cornell University, an average of 10,000 severe thunderstorms occurs in the US each year? And that doesn’t even include hurricanes that develop throughout the year. Why are we bringing this up? It’s because HVAC protection against storms is often overlooked, even though taking some small precautions can save you from big headaches later.

Join the experts at Unico as we share four tips for protecting your HVAC system from storm damage.

1. Keep Your HVAC Unit Secured

  • Strong winds and even flash floods have the potential to remove an outdoor HVAC unit from its mounting plate or base. If a severe storm is forecasted for your area, go out and make sure the mounts on the unit are undamaged and properly tightened. For added protection against storms, you can use tie-down straps to create a stronger anchor.
  • If your HVAC unit has moved, carefully move it back into place and inspect your supply lines for kinks, leaks or any other damage that may have occurred.
  • High-speed winds will often pick up debris and throw it against your HVAC unit. The dirt, dust and debris can even penetrate the exterior of the system and damage the coils, fan and electronics inside. To help prevent this, wrap your HVAC unit with a weatherproof tarp. The key is ensuring that all sides are covered, and the tarp is secured with the right amount of tension.
  • In areas where you may be expecting winter storms, it’s wise to secure a tarp around your unit to keep ice, snow and critters from damaging your system.

2. Elevate Your HVAC Unit

  • Severe storms like hurricanes often open the possibility of flooding. To guard against this, you’ll first want to determine what the flood line is in your local area. Then, plan on installing your HVAC unit so that it sits above that line. By raising up the entire system, you’ll help prevent water damage in the event of flooding.
  • It’s also important to note that you should reach out to a professional before moving an HVAC unit on your own. Even though lifting it a few inches seems easy, you run the risk of core components like the refrigerant lines being damaged.

3. Turn Off Your HVAC Unit

  • It’s common during severe storms for nearby power transformers to short-circuit from lighting strikes or high-speed winds. Electrical surges have the potential to damage the internal electronics of an HVAC unit. When there’s a storm expected in your area, turn off your HVAC system. In the event of a power outage, it’s a good rule of thumb to wait until the other appliances in your home have regained power before turning the HVAC unit back on.
  • If you’re interested in more security against power surges, you can ask an electrician to install a surge protector on your home’s main circuit breaker box. This will help ensure that any power surges that happen are weaker, lowering the risk of damage caused to the HVAC unit.

4. Clear Your Yard Ahead of a Storm

  • When a severe storm is going to hit your local area, you want the yard to be empty. Every branch, stick, toy and piece of furniture has the potential to be turned into a projectile. In severe winds, all these items can be thrown into your HVAC unit and home, causing damage. Before a storm hits, go out into your yard and clear out anything on the ground.
  • If larger items like furniture are difficult to move, you can secure them on the ground or a nearby tree instead.

Let Us Help Your HVAC Unit Run Smoothly
Whether it’s protecting an HVAC unit from a storm or finding the optimal comfort level for your home, the design services team at Unico is here to help. If you have an upcoming home project that needs design assistance, Unico is ready to share its expertise. Let us do the hard part when it comes to the HVAC system design layout. Get in touch with Unico’s Design Services today!

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