Spring storm season is upon us. Are you ready for a tornado?
Tornado season arrived right on cue this year. Sadly, the first deadly tornado of 2019 touched down on March 3rd in Alabama. History shows that peak tornado season begins in March and ramps up through July. But tornadoes have been recorded literally every month of the year and in almost every state.
According to NOAA statistics, an average of about 1,200 tornadoes each year spawn in the U.S. While you can’t be absolutely certain one will spawn near you, it’s a good idea to be prepared, just in case — and that preparation should include your HVAC system.
WELL BEFORE A STORM
Make sure your outdoor condenser / heat pump is secured so it cannot be lifted from its concrete pad in a strong wind. Hurricane straps are increasingly common when new equipment is installed. Consult your HVAC contractor if straps need to be added or if yours appear loose or rusted.
Protect your system from being damaged by a power surge from lightning. Properly grounded surge protection can involve lightning rods and/or a whole house surge protector.
Ask your HVAC contractor about fitting your outdoor HVAC equipment with a cover to protect vulnerable coils against hail damage. Never use a tarp.
It’s always a good idea in Spring to ensure that gutters are clear and that they drain away from your house and outdoor HVAC equipment. Rain is nothing to worry about in and of itself, but electrical components can be damaged by severe flooding.
WHEN A STORM IS IMMINENT
A good gust can pick up whatever is loose in your yard and turn it into a battering ram that can damage your HVAC equipment — lawn chairs, the grill, toys, etc. If you can’t stash them in the garage, then at least secure them so they don’t become airborne.
AFTER A SEVERE WEATHER ALERT OR TORNADO WARNING
Turn the HVAC system off at the circuit breaker.
AFTER THE STORM
If you think your HVAC equipment may be damaged in any way, have your HVAC contractor check it before you switch it back on. Safety first!
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