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Severe Weather Preparation (for Your HVAC)

Spring in Houston is probably our most pleasant season. The weather is mild and far from the “transitional mode” that the much of the U.S. experiences. We don’t have the extreme temperature and weather patterns that even our neighbors in Dallas experience at this time of year.

But spring does bring its fair share of thunderstorms – some of which can be potentially hazardous. Because of this, it is important to prepare your HVAC system for potential problems. Physical damage from hail and debris as well as electrical damage from lightening are a real threat and should to be addressed in advance.

The following is a list of practical tips a homeowner should follow to prepare for any storm-related activity:

  • Protective Cover – High winds are often part of an electrical storm equation. Debris from trees and surrounding plants can damage your HVAC, along with hail (that can be as large as softball sized). A heavy canvas cover or hail guards will help protect your unit from storm damage.
  • Yard Maintenance – Make sure that the surrounding yard is well manicured. Keep tree limbs and foliage cut, especially if close to the HVAC. Yard debris including leaves and branches can clog vents and cause other damage.
  • Clean the Area – Remove any objects that are close to the HVAC unit that could potentially cause damage if carried by a strong wind. Patio furniture, barbecue grills, children’s toys and other heavy items should be moved away from the HVAC area.
  • Programmable Thermostat – If you don’t own a programmable thermostat, you should consider getting one. There are designs with a time-delay function, which prevents the HVAC from restarting immediately after a power failure. A delay reduces the possibility of damaging the unit in the event of a voltage spike.

Benefits of a Programmable Thermostat

  • Whole House Surge Protector – This will help ensure that your HVAC system, and all of your important electrical equipment, are kept safe from voltage spikes.

Benefits of a Whole House Surge Protector

  • Backup Generator – In addition to a whole house surge protector, a backup generator is a good investment if you live in a Houston area that experiences frequent blackouts. Keep part or all of your home powered when you lose electricity. This can be very important when the temps get into the upper 80’s and the humidity is high.
  • Sump Pump – Though basements are not common in Houston, if you have an HVAC installed in a basement or cellar you might consider investing in a sump pump. If you live in a low area and flooding is a concern, a sump pump will help keep your HVAC from damage. A sump pump starts immediately when water is detected, effectively pumping water out of the area and keeping any rain water from accumulating.

After a major spring storm there are some other safety considerations you’ll want to take into account:

  • Water Damage – Before you turn on you HVAC after a storm, make sure that the unit is not under water (or has been flooded internally). Your unit could be damaged beyond repair if it is used while under water.
  • Air Filter – Make sure that your HVAC air filter is changed after a major storm.
  • Yard Debris – Assess your yard after the storm and clear away any limbs or debris that may have fallen on or around the HVAC.

Spring electrical storms can be brutal, so being prepared can potentially save you a lot of heartache. These proactive tips can help you avoid costly repairs or replacement. If you have any further questions or concerns regarding spring HVAC maintenance, give us a call today at (713) 364-0226.