The Cool Before the Storm: Preparing Your AC for Hurricane Season

Hurricane season in Florida starts early June and continues into late fall. In other words: It’s likely to be hot and muggy in addition to the intense weather that blows through with every storm. Among the common Floridian challenges is AC outages during major storms, often because your outdoor unit is flooded, clogged with debris, or damaged in the storm. 

Fortunately, you can make plans to keep cool and protect your AC before the next hurricane season begins. The following tips can help you prepare for “the cool before the storm” to keep your home cool and comfortable despite hurricanes in the area.

Cool Your House Down

Start by preparing your house to stay cool, even if the power goes out or your AC is damaged in the storm. Re-caulk the windows and add fresh weather stripping to the doors – and any windows that open to improve your home’s insulation.

When a storm is imminent, close your blinds and curtains to prevent the sun from heating up the inside of your home. Then turn the AC to a comfortably cool temperature. This will help you trap a cool climate inside your house, which might maintain until the power comes back.

Lift Up your Unit – Concrete Slabs are Ideal

Flooding is a major problem during hurricane season. You can protect your outdoor AC unit by lifting it up off the ground. This can be done with a combination of composite risers and a concrete slab or a customized condenser rack. Of course, everything will need to be secured with approved hurricane straps. This will help keep your outdoor a/c unit elevated so that it is less likely to be damaged from rising water now or in future storms. It will also help to protect it from floating debris being swept along by the flood waters.

Install a Weatherproof Cover Over

You can protect your condensers coil and cabinet by installing a weatherproof cover or box or even a simple sleeve that fits over your unit just before the storm-with the system off and the power turned off at the circuit breaker, to protect it from wind, rain and debris as well. 

Clear the Area Around Your Unit

Hurricanes often cause nearby bushes and landscaping elements to thrash in the wind, which can cause damage to your outdoor AC unit. The best way to improve protection from these elements is to trim back bushes, trees, and other plant life in at least a two- to three-foot radius around your unit. This will also reduce the number of leaves that blow into the unit during normal weather outside of hurricane season.

Get Professional HVAC Assistance

If you’re unsure how to prepare your unit, a professional HVAC technician can assist you with maintenance. We can help you lift your outdoor AC unit off the ground, install a cover, and advise on how to best clear the space around your unit to optimize performance and durability during the Florida hurricane season.

Schedule Maintenance After the Storm

After each major storm, inspect your outdoor AC unit for damage. If your AC won’t turn back on or if you spot any signs of trouble, you can schedule professional HVAC maintenance. Look for bent fins, debris stuck in the unit, clicking sounds, or signs of flooding. Cascade Services can help you keep your AC in top condition before and after every storm this hurricane season. Contact us today to learn more or to schedule your HVAC maintenance service.