Every storm season I talk about hurricane straps for your a/c unit. Hurricane season runs from June 1 – November 30 and we are smack dab in the middle of it right now. The winds that can be produced just from a good tropical disturbance can cause some major damage to surrounding areas as well as your a/c equipment.
Hurricane straps are metal straps that connect your outdoor unit to the stand or pad that it is sitting on. Hurricane straps are a simple way to add an extra layer of insurance that your a/c will stay where it should. They are very inexpensive to install and there is no maintenance required after they are screwed down. They are also code for newly installed equipment.
In 2004, after Hurricane Charley came through, we spent days cutting down “hangers”. Hangers are what we nick named outdoor a/c units that were not properly secured with hurricane straps. These units where blown off there stands and dangling mid air. Imagine, a 200 lb. piece of equipment dangling by what appear to be mere threads of electrical wiring 10 to 15 feet in the air. That was some scary stuff.
In addition, if a storm is approaching and it’s time to evacuate make sure to turn your air conditioner off. Simply do this by turning the breakers off to both the inside unit and the outside unit. If you have multiple systems, there will be two breakers for each. Turn them all off. After the threat has passed you want to visually inspect your outdoor unit prior to turning it back on. First make sure it’s not a “hanger”. Then look at the physical appearance. Look for tree damage or other windblown debris that may have impacted your unit. If you are safely able to look at the top of your outdoor unit, ensure that there isn’t any vegetation sticking out of the top. Once you have done all of the above go ahead and turn you unit on and listen for a couple of minutes. If something doesn’t sound right turn it off and call your service provider.
In closing if you’re not sure whether your system is properly secured, give your HVAC contractor a call. They should be able to tell you from service records on your home whether or not you have them. I know how much new systems can cost and it’s essential that you do everything you can to prepare for potential hazards and protect your investment.
As always, thanks for reading and be safe.