hvac system components

Hurricanes are catastrophic severe weather events that can cause millions of dollars of damage. For example, Hurricane Ian caused over $112 billion in damage in 2022 and around 150 deaths. Homeowners take the brunt of the damage from hurricanes, with their homes, AC units, and yards getting ravaged.

There is usually a lot to do during the aftermath of a hurricane. You may be tempted to turn on your HVAC unit right away to cool down your home. However, checking your HVAC system components before you do so is important.

This blog will discuss what to do with your HVAC system after a storm in Punta Gorda. Our HVAC safety tips will help you assess storm damage and determine when to contact a repair company.

Wait for the All-Clear

The first thing to keep in mind is that you want to ensure it’s safe for you to go outside and check your HVAC unit. Make sure the storm has completely passed. You should also wait until the local authorities have told residents that it’s safe for them to exit their homes.

Inspect Your HVAC Unit for Damage

Visually inspect your AC unit for visible signs of damage. We recommend not getting too close to the system during this step. Keep an eye out for the following things that may pose a safety risk:

  • Standing water
  • Debris
  • Branches

Don’t restore power to or plug back in your unit until it’s safe to do so. It’s no mystery that water and electricity don’t mix. The last thing you want is to get electrocuted because you turned your AC back on when it was surrounded by standing water.

Put on Protective Gear

You may approach your HVAC unit if you deem it safe to do so. Keep yourself and anyone who’s helping you stay safe by wearing protective gear. This may include:

  • Safety goggles
  • Sturdy gloves
  • Heavy boots
  • Long pants

Be mindful of debris or sharp objects that may be surrounding your HVAC unit.

Clear Debris

Gently remove anything that’s accumulated around your HVAC unit while wearing your protective gear. Some of the things that might’ve gotten in your system include:

  • Leaves
  • Trash
  • Branches

You’ll want to ensure that the fins and condenser coils aren’t obstructed or blocked. You should replace your HVAC unit filters even if your system looks fine. The filters may have been clogged with debris or gotten damp during the storm.

Contact a Punta Gorda HVAC Restoration Company

It’s important to know whether you’ll need to contact an HVAC repair company after your initial inspection. You should place a call to a Punta Gorda HVAC company if you notice standing water around your unit or suspect water has infiltrated it.

You may continue with clearing off the unit if you believe it’s safe to do so. Don’t hesitate to call them if you have any questions. They’ll let you know if they want to come to your home or if you can continue with clearing nearby debris.

Take Temporary Actions

You may not be able to use your HVAC unit if it’s damaged and you’re waiting for a repair company to come. A few things you can do include:

  • Covering the unit with plywood or a tarp
  • Placing towels or buckets underneath to collect water
  • Cool your home with portable AC units

We don’t recommend attempting to repair or tamper with electrical components, as this could be dangerous and potentially worsen the problem.

Create a Checklist for Future Storms

There may be some steps you can take to prevent damage from happening to your HVAC unit during a future storm. While not every issue can be avoided, being proactive can’t hurt. Some items you should add to your storm preparedness checklist include:

  • Clearing debris and loose items from the area around your unit
  • Covering your system with plywood or a tarp
  • Turning off the power to your HVAC unit

Turn Your HVAC System Back On

Once you or an HVAC technician have determined that your unit is damage-free and safe, you may turn it back on. Don’t forget to turn your thermostat back on if you turned it off before the storm began.

File an Insurance Claim

Your HVAC unit may have been so significantly damaged that you need to file an insurance claim. Knowing what your policy covers can help cover some of the repair or replacement costs.

Take Photos

We recommend taking photos and videos of your AC unit before the storm hits. This makes it easy to pinpoint damage when making claims to your homeowner’s insurance company. You may want to take notes of any visible damage you see before the storm.

Take clear photos and videos of the affected areas after the storm. Make sure the images are from multiple angles. Again, all this information makes it easier to file an insurance claim (if necessary).

Check Your Policy

Carefully read through your homeowner’s insurance policy. Pay close attention to the parts of it that discuss HVAC coverage. Determine if your policy covers certain perils, such as:

  • Water damage
  • Fire
  • Storm damage

Contact Your Insurance Company

Let your homeowner’s insurance company know right away that your HVAC unit was damaged during the storm. Many companies have certain claims processes you need to follow.

Get Repairs Estimates

Most insurance companies require you to obtain estimates from several HVAC repair companies. Ellsworth’s Heating & Cooling has experience working with insurance companies in Punta Gorda.

Protect Your HVAC System Components Before the Next Punta Gorda Storm

Being prepared is one of the first steps to keeping your HVAC system components safe. Avoid serious problems from occurring by taking the right precautions and staying on top of your AC maintenance. Working with a local storm damage HVAC repair company will ensure you keep your unit protected and safe.

Whether you need assistance with post-storm HVAC maintenance or preparing for the next storm, the technicians at Ellsworth’s Heating & Cooling are here to assist. We’re proud to offer five-star and A+-rated HVAC services to our community.

Call our office to schedule an appointment to discuss our HVAC repair and maintenance services in Punta Gorda, Fort Myers, Cape Coral, and beyond.