Protecting Your Air Conditioner in a Hurricane

 In Fall Topics, Keeping Cool, Summer Topics

The Tallahassee area is no stranger to tropical storms and hurricanes. While you’re boarding up windows and stockpiling canned goods and water, also think about protecting your air conditioner during a hurricane. Keep reading to find out what precautions you should take in the event of a hurricane or other severe weather.


Most of us are familiar with the big outside unit at our homes and businesses. They look immovable, but they’re not. Strong hurricane winds can blow even these large units off its foundations and damage the lines. Flying debris and flood water can also ruin it.

Before the storm comes, examine your system and know how to turn off gas to your furnace and electricity to equipment inside and out. Leaking gas or sparking electrical wires could cause a fire or other damage, or a power surge might damage your equipment. If you can, schedule a professional inspection and make sure your technician shows you how to do this and any other problems they find. Make sure outside connections and bolts are tight. Strap your outside unit down with hurricane straps. Pick up loose debris around the yard to keep it from blowing into your unit and damaging the case.

If your outside equipment is at ground level and you live in a flood-prone area, consider having the equipment elevated to protect it from inundation. Flood waters carry lots of debris, and even a few inches of flowing water can move a car, much less your air conditioner unit.


While you’re waiting on the storm’s arrival, turn your air conditioner down a few degrees to keep your house cool after the power goes out. Freeze plenty of water to drink and stock up on ice. After the electricity goes out, keep cool by closing shades and curtains against the heat, using battery-powered fans, drinking cool water and putting cold washcloths and towels on your body.

If you have a smart thermostat, some models won’t just come back on after a long power outage. If it doesn’t come on right away, try charging it using the cord that came with it.

After the Storm

If your unit was flooded or took any debris impacts, have a professional check it out before turning it back on. Clean all the debris out of and away from the outside unit. Check carefully for any bent fins, dents or other damage. Also look at the connections from the inside unit and ensure they’re tight and undamaged. Depending on your policy, your homeowner’s insurance may cover any damage the unit incurred. Your technician and your insurance agent can help you get your system back into its pre-storm condition.

Barineau Heating and Air is here for you before, during and after a storm. For a regular checkup or to have a technician assess any hurricane damage you have, call 850-580-4029.

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