When Storms Are in the Forecast, Prepare Your HVAC System

May 12, 2016

With spring well underway here in Iowa, so is the season for tornadoes and strong thunderstorms. That means the potential for wind damage, flooded basements, and power outages. Most seasoned Midwesterners are aware of basic spring storm preparation steps (coming inside, staying away from windows, making sure everything outside is secure). However, HVAC storm prep isn't so widely known.

Follow these steps to protect your home and its heating and cooling system from dangerous spring storms.

Turn Off Your Home's Central HVAC System  

When you know a storm is approaching, turn off your home's central HVAC system at the breaker box. Any window or portable A/C units should be unplugged and removed from the window, with the window closed and sealed tightly. Go ahead and shut down the breaker for the window unit, too. If you have enough warning of an oncoming strong storm during hot weather, turn the thermostat down several degrees cooler than comfort until it's time to shut it down. That way, the house will stay cool longer while the system is offline.

Cover The A/C or Heat Pump's Outside Unit

Using a tarp or plywood that's well secured with straps or a heavy weight, cover the A/C or heat pump's outside unit. This will keep blowing debris from damaging or getting inside the unit, damaging sensitive components. This is an opportune time to inspect the yard and makes sure lawn furniture, toys and other yard miscellanies are secure and won't endanger life and property.

Use Individual Power Strip/Surge Protectors

Protect HVAC, electronics and other appliances from power surges, either from lightning or electrical outages, with individual power strip/surge protectors. To be totally safe, unplug computer and entertainment systems. Think about buying a point-of-entry surge protection system that protects your whole home.

Consider Investing in a Standby Generator

One that instantly kicks on when the power goes out. These systems can provide power to select circuits or the entire home, depending on the size you choose, and can be used to keep the cooling or heating in operation. They are simple to use, without fuel storage or handling.

For more spring storm preparation ideas to protect your Des Moines area home, please contact us at Lozier Heating & Cooling. Our goal is to help educate our customers in the greater Des Moines, Iowa area about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).