Protecting HVAC Systems from Storm Damages

Extreme weather can seriously impact your home. One area vulnerable to these kinds of dangerous elements is your HVAC system. Flooding, high winds, lightning strikes, hail, and other acts of nature can cause severe, expensive harm to heating and cooling equipment.

Steps To Prevent Storm Damage

Thankfully, homeowners can take some steps to protect their home environmental systems from damage caused by weather. While such acts cannot be predicted or prevented entirely, their damage can at least be minimized or the risks reduced. Some preventative measures need to be part of the system’s installation. Others need to be done before a storm hits.

Do Not Use The System During A Storm

Avoid running your system during severe or questionable weather. Turning off the system at the thermostat can prevent damage from power surges caused by lightning strikes or other events. Throwing the circuit breaker(s) connected to the heating and cooling equipment will provide even more protection.

Protection From Flooding

Protecting a heating and air conditioning system from damage by floodwaters starts with proper installation. When the equipment is put into place, it should be installed on a higher level than the surrounding ground. If it is not possible to have the unit raised above the flood level for the area, a homeowner may be able to install a sump pump that will automatically remove water from around the equipment once it reaches a certain level.

Removing Possible Flying Object

High winds during a storm can turn just about anything into a hazard. Downed tree limbs (or dead ones still in the tree), children’s toys, patio furniture, loose boards, and anything else in the yard where the outside HVAC equipment is should all be picked up before a storm to prevent them from being thrown into the unit. Damage from flying debris is the second most common risk to the equipment.

Anchor and Cover The Unit

To prevent the unit from being moved around during high winds, it needs to be anchored into place properly. If a storm is imminent, consider covering the equipment with a strong tarp to keep small flying debris from damaging any vulnerable elements. If it’s in an area where hail is common, install hail guards over the unit before destructive hail hits. Hail is the single most damaging offense to HVAC systems during storms.

Inspect Before Reactivating

Inspect the equipment after the storm and before turning on the unit. If damage appears to be serious, call a technician to determine if the unit is safe to reactivate.

Storms of all types can deal serious damage to HVAC systems. Power surges can blow out fuses and short out equipment. High water levels can flood equipment and leave it inoperable. High winds can throw debris into outdoor units and hail can destroy equipment. If a homeowner takes the proper steps, danger from these hazards can be minimized, if not prevented altogether.

Have additional questions? Contact Payne Air Conditioning today.


Proper Refrigerant Disposal and Recycling

You HVAC technician is a highly trained and skilled person. They have to be. Your HVAC system is a complicated system of machinery, electronics, and a volatile gas which likes to boil at -15* Fahrenheit. Every part of it meets extremely close tolerances and handles some incredible pressures and temperatures.

In order to handle the refrigerant contained within it, not only must your technician be specially trained, he even has to be certified by the EPA! And there’s a good reason for this. The refrigerants used in HVAC systems have historically been either chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) or hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs). Those are the very same chemicals that ate a hole in our ozone layer.

Ozone Depletion

We like the ozone layer. It keeps us safe. Without it we’d be subjected to incredible amounts of radioactive energy from the giant ball of hydrogen undergoing nuclear fusion at the center of our solar system. And that’s no good. All that radiation would cause – a lot – of damage. In fact, even the little bit that gets through can and will cause melanoma if you get too much of it. So, making sure the ozone layer stays intact and begins to heal is a top priority.

Your HVAC tech is actually one of the front-line soldiers in defense of the ozone layer! By having all that special training, certification, and equipment, they are able to stop the venting of refrigerants into the atmosphere.

Rather than destructively venting the gasses, your tech will collect them into specially-designed, DOT-approved, cylinders. From there the gas can either be stored long term, taken to an approved recycling center for purification and resale, or taken to an approved facility for destruction.

Refrigerant Recycling

Most of the refrigerant is recycled. Both because some of them are no longer manufactured and as such are in high demand, and because recycling the refrigerant is good for business, the environment, and market prices.

At the recycling plant the gasses will under go a chemical and physical purification process to bring it back to within the same specifications as virgin refrigerant. From there it is resold.

If the refrigerant is to be destroyed, it is again taken to an approved facility that will apply any one of a number of destruction methods. Whatever the method used, it must destroy 99.999% of the refrigerant. Radio frequency plasma is gaining a lot of traction as the preferred method since the only byproducts it creates is salt water, and a minuscule amount of hydrogen and soot.

At Payne Air Conditioning and Heating, we care about the environment. When you call us you can be assured that we adhere to all EPA and CAA (Clean air act) guidelines not merely because it is required, but because it is the right thing to do. If your HVAC system needs servicing, don’t hesitate to give us a call today!