If you reside in an area that is prone to big storms during hurricane season, you are probably all too familiar with the things you should do to get prepared when a hurricane watch comes in. While stocking up on water supplies and protecting your valuables may be some of your first plans of action, there are also steps you should take to protect your property, even your HVAC system. The fact is, your HVAC system can be completely damaged by strong winds and heavy rains, but there are things you can do to protect this expensive home component before a hurricane hits:
Turn off the electrical breaker to your HVAC unit.
The last thing that needs to be happening when a hurricane hits is the HVAC system trying to function as usual. The high winds outside can make it hard for the outdoor unit to push the fan blades against the gusts, so they can be damaged. Plus, if you have to evacuate, you definitely do not want your HVAC unit running in a home that still has power but is partially flooded. Shutting off the main breaker to the unit will protect the unit and your home, and will also prevent damaging power surges if there is an electrical outage and the power suddenly comes back on.
Cover your exterior HVAC system components.
The components of your HVAC system that are located outdoors will be most vulnerable during the storm, so do what you can to protect these components before the storm hits. Many homeowners will wrap the outdoor unit with a heavy-duty tarp to ward off blowing rain and debris. But if you want absolute protection from flying limbs and debris, it is a good idea to box in the unit with pieces of plywood to fit around it.
Stuff the vent openings in the house with old towels or blankets.
This may sound like an odd thing to do, but if water makes its way into your attic because your roof springs a leak during the storm, any water that gets into the ducts will have a harder time spilling out into your house. It is best to use something absorbent to fill the openings, so heavy cotton towels or blankets are a good choice. Simply pull off the vent covers and push the towels or blankets down into the opening of the duct as tight as you can.
Contact local HVAC services for more information and assistance.