3 Ways a Tornado Could Damage Your HVAC System
While you may be more concerned about your roof, windows and uprooted trees after a tornado hits your area, your home’s HVAC system could also be at risk. Once the danger has passed and power is restored to your home, it’s critical that you’re familiar with the three ways a tornado could damage your HVAC system before your family gets back to business as usual.
Since your central air conditioning system relies on your home’s power supply to efficiently cool and condition your home, any disruption to the electricity can cause problems. When lightning strikes your home or somewhere close, the excess power can flood your circuit breaker and fry any appliances or electronics tied to it. Installing a surge protector at your breaker box can help to absorb the electricity before it has the chance to cause damage.
Of course, telephone and cable wires coming into your home can provide nearby lightning strikes a way to sneak into your home without coming through the breakers. In order to stop an excess influx of electricity from damaging your expensive HVAC equipment, it’s often necessary to install special surge protectors on the equipment itself.
It’s important to remember that tornados typically travel with more than just high winds and lightning. Since hail is a common occurrence during severe storms, anything outside your home – including your HVAC equipment – is subject to being pelted when the weather turns dangerous. One solution to keep the fragile parts of your condenser coil safe during bad weather is to install a hail guard over the unit.
Unfortunately, there will be a limit to what a hail guard can actually deflect. While hail may bounce away without doing much damage, smaller debris that becomes airborne during a tornado can make it through the guard and lodge itself in the equipment. When this occurs, call an HVAC professional for assistance before you attempt to use your air conditioning again.
While increased lightning strikes and hail may be the most common accompaniments to a tornado, a slow-moving storm can drop a substantial amount of water when it hits your area. Not only is the deluge of water itself a potential issue for your outdoor HVAC equipment, but also the potential for dirt, grass and other debris to be washed into the unit when the standing water rises.
Before severe weather heads your way, it’s a good idea to have an HVAC professional inspect your outdoor unit to ensure it’s sufficiently elevated above the height standing water typically reaches. If you’re trying to keep as much water as possible out of the unit, you may want to consider purchasing a mesh cover for your condensing unit that will keep the worst of heavy rains from getting inside. Just remember to remove the cover before you start the air conditioning again, as it can hinder airflow.