Hurricane season runs from June 1st through November 30th – a big stretch of time where you should be ready to act with little to no warning. Aside from making sure you and your family are ready, you need to ensure your property is also hurricane ready. It can be very time-consuming but working ahead on your property maintenance can make a world of difference when storms are approaching. Hilton Head and Bluffton area residents have had to deal with mandatory evacuations in recent history, so hurricane preparedness is an absolute must for our community.
Step One: Having A Plan
The most essential beginning is to prioritize your family’s safety. Preparing your property can be done each year in many ways and is necessary, if time allows, prior to the storm. If you did not plan ahead for the season and have not completed your household preparations for a storm, you should not start when evacuation orders are given.
When storm warnings come in, there will be a frenzy around supplies including fuel sources. You can’t develop a plan and consider your options in the middle of the problem. Working ahead on home care, prepping your hurricane kit, and reducing the number of decisions you have to make when forced to, will help you to react quickly.
Protecting Your HVAC Before the Storm
Just like the sports cliche “The best defense is a good offense,” the same process can be applied to your HVAC hurricane preparedness. If you are building a new property, proper planning in your development should include where you place your HVAC equipment on your property. Ideally, your HVAC equipment should be mounted on an appropriate riser, away from any low-lying parts of your property where water may accumulate, if possible.
Damage from the wind is a significant concern for your HVAC unit – less the wind itself and more what the wind may carry with it. Anything that can be stowed away somewhere should be, including patio furniture, potted plants, fire pits, grills, and outdoor decor items. Eventually, you’ll need to “board up” your HVAC equipment, but how you handle it will depend on your plans to shelter in place or evacuate.
Preparing Your Household to Stay Or Evacuate
Mandatory evacuation orders aside, some households opt to ride out the storm. In those instances, you should turn your AC down to as cool as you can to try to give your property enough cool air to try to ride out the storm. While you’ll need to eventually complete a total power down of your system, you’ll want to make sure that you don’t do it so early that you don’t have cool air for long enough and not so late that it is unsafe for you to be outside.
If you plan on evacuating, then as a final step, you should power down your HVAC equipment completely.
Once power is disabled, you should “board up” your outdoor AC equipment. You can use a wooden box frame and/or tie down a heavy-duty tarp to surround the system. The goal is to ensure that the AC unit has protection from harsh water intrusion and possible strikes from flying debris.
After the Storm: Operating Your HVAC When You Return
It is highly suggested to wait until you have complete power restoration on your property before you turn your AC back on. In some instances, electricity will surge in and out as repairs are completed in your area. Heavy appliances and HVAC systems that are live are subject to possible surge damage. Waiting until you have total power restoration will help protect you from avoidable equipment damage.
Once full power is restored, it is highly recommended for safety to first have an HVAC inspection before powering up your AC again. If there is slight water or physical damage to your unit, you may not be able to tell from a simple look from the outside of your air conditioner. If you start an HVAC that has been compromised, you may accidentally cause more damage to your unit. Waiting for an inspection and a simple repair is much more cost-effective than a complete unit replacement.
If you do need an inspection, repairs, or system replacement, be sure to use a local, respected professional company. In the aftermath of large storms, many contractors will travel into the area to assist with repair and construction needs. While some may truly be there to help, less reputable companies also take advantage of the desperate situations that many homeowners are in by completing less than quality work and leaving town. You should always go with a local contractor that has a trusted history within the community – like Superior Services!
Superior Services Has Been Helping Customers with Their HVACs and Storm Needs For 20+ Years
If you don’t have a plan, then you can start one with Superior Services! We’ve helped our friends and neighbors in Hilton Head, Bluffton, and beyond to care for their properties for over twenty years. As a local organization, we are also impacted by storms that hit our community. That’s what drives us to help our customers to prepare for significant weather events and work hard to assist homeowners who have suffered damage. We have a 24/7 Emergency Response Team here to help take care of your property and your family.
Call Superior Services today at 800-828-2665 or for more information, visit GoToSuperior.com.