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All storms have different intensity levels in Columbia, Maryland. The strongest storms are the riskiest as they can produce high winds and powerful lightning strikes that could damage or destroy an air conditioning system. If you’re concerned about your outdoor HVAC equipment, the strategies in this guide can help you implement procedures to protect it.

Cool the Home in Advance

If an approaching summer storm is very powerful, set your thermostat to a low temperature and run the central air conditioning system for several hours in advance. If the power goes out, the cold air will remain in the home for several hours.

Shut Off the Air Conditioner’s Power Supply

Immediately after you see the first lightning strike, power down your central air conditioning unit. Never let the system run throughout a lightning storm as one lightning strike could generate an electrical surge that can fry your HVAC hardware.

Besides lightning, you should also power down the air conditioner if a storm will produce powerful winds. If the wind launches debris inside your unit while it’s running, the motor may break down, and it could require professional repair.

If your area is subject to a high volume of lightning strikes, you may want to look at having a lightning protection system installed. These systems have a number of lightning rods designed to move electricity into the ground. This will protect your HVAC system in addition to your home’s other electronics.

Shield the HVAC System

A hurricane has several categories, so you’ll need different preparation strategies based on the wind speed and possible damage. If a hurricane is going to produce winds that are strong enough to launch objects and debris throughout the air, cover your outdoor unit. You can create a layer of protection with a sheet of plywood or with a heavy-duty tarp. Shortly after the storm passes, remove the protective shield so that sunlight can evaporate any moisture that could harm your HVAC equipment.

Secure the HVAC Hardware

Attach hurricane straps to your outdoor unit if it’s elevated off the ground. If your home is in a flood zone, monitor the waterline following every storm. When the water line gets very close to the outdoor unit, let an HVAC contractor lift the equipment onto a higher platform.

If you need assistance before or after a severe storm in Columbia, Maryland, contact Griffith Energy Services. Our heating and AC services will give you peace of mind.

Image provided by iStock

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