It was called the storm of the century.
It was 15 years ago this week: Hurricane Floyd made landfall in eastern North Carolina, a region already soaked by a visit from Hurricane Dennis a few weeks before. The third major storm of its type during the 1999 Atlantic Hurricane season, Floyd forced 2.6 million coastal residents to flee their homes. Hurricane Floyd — a strong Category 4 storm — brought with it torrential rainfall, heavy winds, and widespread flooding that resulted in 57 fatalities, and $4.5 billion in damage.
Floodwaters eventually receded, and North Carolinians made their way back to their homes to begin picking up the pieces. It is our hope that all remains quiet on the hurricane front, but if we learned anything in 1999, it’s that you just never know when the next major storm might strike. When it does, make sure you’re prepared. There are steps you, as a homeowner, can take to protect your HVAC unit before, during, and after a hurricane.
Prior to the Storm
Anchor the outdoor condensing unit. Place a metal cage around the unit, or to fix it in place with straps. Doing so will protect your investment from hurricane-force winds and flying debris. It is not recommended to use a tarp, as this might cause the compressor to overheat and malfunction.
Secure loose objects. Patio furniture, potted plants, and bicycles can be thrown about during a strong storm. Move these and other such items indoors when possible to avoid causing impact damage to your HVAC unit.
During the Storm
Cut all power to your unit. When you know a storm is on the way, turn the air conditioner OFF. Do this at the thermostat and the breaker box. Power surges and outages are not uncommon during a hurricane, and a unit that’s off is a unit that can’t be damaged.
Do not go outside. Stay safe.
After the Storm
Check the unit before turning it back on. When it is safe — and only when it is safe — to do so, perform a visual inspection of your outdoor condensing unit. Check dents and dings that might cause bigger problems when restarting the air conditioner. If your unit has come into contact with saltwater at all, do not turn the unit back on. If you’re unsure, contact the certified air conditioner repair technicians at Blanton’s Heating & Air to inspect the unit for you.
Restart the unit, slowly. If you lost power during the storm, wait at least 20 minutes after restoration to restart the unit. This will ensure the connection is stable, and that it’s safe to resume normal activity.
Never again do we want to have to endure a storm like Floyd, but in the event of any hurricane, large or small, Blanton’s Heating & Air is standing by to handle all of your pre- and post-hurricane inspection needs.