As Houstonians we are very familiar with hurricane season, starting June 1 and ending November 30. Experts are predicting this year to be bigger and more active than it has been in many years, with meteorologists from Colorado State University stating that our chances for tropical impact are more than doubling this season. 

Our normal chance of a tropical storm impacting Houston is 29% and for Galveston is 34%” says CSU. “We are predicting that this year we will have a 45% and 51% chance. For a hurricane impact in Houston, the chance goes from 16% to 25% and for Galveston from 19% to 30%. Finally, our odds in Houston of a major hurricane impact increase from 4% to 7% this year while Galveston goes up from 6% to 9%. The real takeaway is that our odds have jumped considerably to be hit by a storm. And that is really all that matters.” 

Because hurricane season this year is predicted to be active, it’s important to do all you can to protect your home HVAC system. And to make it easier, we have created a list of what to do before, during, and after the storm to keep your HVAC system as safe as possible. 

Before the storm: 

  • Schedule a professional inspection and maintenance: A qualified technician can inspect your system for any potential issues, clean the coils and filters, and ensure everything is operating efficiently.This will help prevent breakdowns during the storm and ensure your system is ready to handle the increased cooling demand after the storm. 
  • Clear debris from around the unit: Remove any leaves, branches, or other debris that could block airflow to the condenser unit.This will help prevent overheating and damage to the system. 
  • Turn off the power to the unit: If you expect the storm to cause power outages, turn off the power to your HVAC system at the breaker box.This will prevent damage to the compressor and other electrical components. 
  • Cover the unit: If possible, cover the outdoor unit with a tarp or plywood to protect it from wind and rain.Make sure the cover is securely fastened and won’t blow away in the wind. 
  • Secure loose objects: Secure any loose objects around the unit, such as patio furniture or grills, to prevent them from becoming projectiles in high winds.

During the storm:

  • Leave the system off: Keep the power to the HVAC system turned off until the storm has passed and it is safe to turn it back on. 
  • Monitor the system: If you are able, monitor the system during the storm to check for any signs of damage, such as leaks or unusual noises.

After the storm: 

  • Inspect the system for damage: Once the storm has passed, carefully inspect your HVAC system for any damage. Look for leaks, loose wiring, or other problems. 
  • Do not turn on the system if it is damaged: If you find any damage, do not turn on the system.Call a qualified technician to repair the damage before restarting the system. 
  • Clean up debris: Remove any debris that may have accumulated around the unit, such as branches or leaves.
  • Turn on the system: Once you are sure the system is undamaged, you can turn it back on.

By following these steps, you can help protect your HVAC system from damage during hurricane season. We have also put together a list of tips that will be helpful to follow: 

  • Use a surge protector: A surge protector can help protect your HVAC system from damage caused by power surges. 
  • Have a backup generator: If you have a backup generator, you can use it to power your HVAC system during a power outage. 
  • Keep important documents in a safe place: Keep copies of your insurance policy, HVAC maintenance records, and contact information for your HVAC technician in a safe place in case you need them after the storm.

Hurricanes are never easy to deal with, but being as prepared as possible will give you peace of mind. And following the advice listed above will put you on the right track to keep your home, family, and HVAC system as safe as possible. But if you do experience damage, call the experts at JW East Mechanical.