How to Prep Your A/C For A Hurricane

The Lowcountry is no stranger to hurricanes and tropical storms. We’re in the midst of hurricane season (June 1 – November 30) which can be a very stressful time for homeowners. When a hurricane or tropical storm strikes, your A/C unit can be among the most vulnerable parts of your house to be damaged which can leave you with costly repairs. 

We understand that you are busy with other home and safety preparations.  So as your trusted, local HVAC experts, we took out the guesswork and put together a few tips to help you prepare and protect your A/C unit.

The impacts of a hurricane can cause damage to your A/C:

WIND & LIGHTNING: Wind can blow loose objects and tree branches that can collide with your A/C unit, damaging the structure and piercing the coils. Dirt, leaves and small debris flying around can become caked on the condenser and dramatically impede air flow. 

Power surges from lightning and downed power lines from wind can damage your air conditioner’s compressor and cause other internal components to fail. The same type of damage can even happen from blackouts and brownouts due to system overload during and after a storm.

FLOODING: Flooding can cause multiple (and costly) problems with your HVAC unit. Valves, wiring and controls can quickly become corroded, which can not only impede air flow but can become a major fire hazard.

How to Prepare Your HVAC System Before the Hurricane:

  1. First and foremost, check your home insurance and flood insurance policies to see what HVAC system damages are covered. 
  2. Remove any loose objects that could hit and damage your HVAC (Ex: outdoor furniture, potted plants, yard tools, etc.). Cut down loose tree limbs. 
  3. Ensure the A/C unit’s bolts are secured and tight.
  4. Move your A/C to an elevated platform to protect it from flooding. Talk to your A/C provider about the best elevated platform solution for your unit.
  5. For additional stability, secure your outdoor A/C unit with hurricane straps.
  6. The day before the hurricane strikes, cool down your house by setting the thermostat slightly lower than your usual temperature. Your house will stay cooler longer in case of a power outage.
  7. Once the storm begins, turn off the electrical breaker switches that lead to your HVAC unit, and unplug and remove window A/C units. If a power outage or power surges occur, shutting your system down will reduce the risk of blowing out circuits and frying your compressor when the power comes back on.
  8. Shut off the gas supply to gas furnaces or gas package units. 
  9. If you have a backup generator, ensure it is properly working and in a safe place so you can turn it on to keep your air conditioner running (or at the very least, to keep ceiling fans and appliances running) during a power outage. Be safe and DO NOT go outside during the storm to turn your generator on, wait for the storm to pass.
  10. To protect your A/C from heavy rain water and flying debris, cover your unit with a tarp or unit cover to protect it ONLY WHEN YOUR A/C IS OFF. Remove it immediately after the storm has passed.

:exclamation:PRO-TIP:  Only cover your air conditioner unit during hurricanes when completely off, and not during typical rain showers or thunderstorms. It rains a lot in the Lowcountry. But a tarp is not safe for regular use, as tarps trap moisture and cause your unit to rust or gather mold and mildew. But they are safe to use intermittently during hurricane season to protect your unit from flooding and debris damage. 

If your HVAC unit is flooded or damaged, follow these steps: 

  1. If not already turned off, turn off the electrical breaker switches that lead to your HVAC, and shut off the gas supply to gas furnaces or gas package units.  
  2. Contact your HVAC provider to asses the damage! Many air conditioner issues related to flooding and hurricane damage are covered by your home insurance policy. Your expert HVAC provider will able to provide you with the proper damage assessment and paperwork needed for your insurance company, in order to get your A/C unit fixed or replaced and up-and-running!

As trusted, local HVAC experts in the Lowcountry, the LimRic Plumbing, Heating & Air team are ready to asses and fix any issues that may arise during hurricane season! If insurance claims become a hassle, LimRic Plumbing, Heating & Air can help with our up-front fixed pricing options to make your air conditioner is properly working, and at an affordable rate.

Learn more by visiting limric.com.

LimRic Plumbing, Heating & Air  proudly services HVAC systems in homes and businesses in Charleston, Mount Pleasant, North Charleston, West Ashley, James Island, Johns Island, Summerville, Hanahan, and Goose Creek.

Breathe Easy: Why It’s Important To Change Your Air Filter

Did you know that Americans spend 90% of their life indoors where air pollutants are 2 to 5 times higher than the outdoors (according to a recent study with the EPA)? Air filters act as your home’s first line of defense against harmful particles and debris. A clogged or dirty filter can harm the quality of the air you breathe and can cause extensive damage to your HVAC system, affecting your health and your wallet!

Here’s a few reasons why you should change your air filter regularly:

Keep your home clean! Your air filter traps a wide range of contaminants such as dust, mites, pollen, mold, bacteria, animal hair and dander, and more. When your air filter is dirty, all of these particles are floating through the air in your home.

It’s good for your health! Poor air quality can lead to allergic reactions, aggravated asthma, airborne sickness, and harmful irritation of your eyes, throat, mouth and skin.

Lower energy bills! When your air filter is dirty and clogged your HVAC system has to work overtime, whether heating or air conditioning. This leads to higher energy usage which results in higher electricity bills!

FUN FACT: You can save as much as 7.5% on your electricity bill when your HVAC is working with a clean air filter!

It’s eco-friendly! Clean air filter = efficient HVAC = less energy usage = happy planet 🌍

Avoid HVAC system damage! Dirt and neglect are among the leading causes of HVAC system failures. Checking and changing your air filters regularly can increase the longevity of your system and prevent extensive system damage.

What kind of air filter should you get?

Air filters come in different shapes and sizes (and colors), but the most important thing to note when selecting your filter is the MERV rating. Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value (MERV) is a standard that rates the overall effectiveness of air filters. A higher value MERV rating equates to a finer filtration, meaning fewer particles and airborne contaminants can pass through the filter.

Most HVAC systems have a recommended filter for ultimate efficiency. Your LimRic HVAC technician is your expert source on choosing the right air filter for your HVAC system. Just make sure you get the right size!

How often should you change your air filter?

It depends on the quality of air filter you have. But as a general rule of thumb, you should change your air filter at least every 90 days if you live in a home without pets and every 60 days if you live in a home with pets or have allergies.

PRO TIP: You might need to change your air filter more frequently during peak summer and winter seasons. When the temperatures are extremely hot or cold, your HVAC is running more often which means it is filtering more air through your home, causing your filter to get clogged quicker.

The good news is that changing your air filter is extremely easy, and that the LimRic Plumbing, Heating & Air experts are always on call, ready to fix any heating and air conditioning issue that may arise.

Learn more by visiting limric.com or calling us at (843) 620-6810.

LimRic Plumbing, Heating & Air  proudly services HVAC systems in homes and businesses in Charleston, Mount Pleasant, North Charleston, West Ashley, James Island, Johns Island, Summerville, Hanahan, and Goose Creek.

Why HVAC Maintenance Is Mandatory

 

Just like most things in your home, your air conditioning unit needs regular maintenance and checkups to keep it running smoothly. We’ve created a list of three easy-to-do tips for homeowners to maintain their HVAC units over the years.

  1. Replace your filter. One of the simplest of tasks in HVAC maintenance is changing out the filters, but many homeowners simply forget to do so. Depending on your home and lifestyle, your filter should be replaced every one to three months. Not sure how often to replace your filter? Ask a professional, who can evaluate your home’s specific needs based on size, occupants, pets, smoking habits, and more.
  2. Check the unit fan. Before you power on your AC unit each spring, take a moment to check the fan. The fan mounted on top of the outside condenser should be inspected every so often for cracks and chips on the blades.
  3. Clean around the unit. Bushes can begin to branch out too close to the unit or grass can grow into the machine, affecting the amount of air it is able to intake. Keeping the area around an outdoor unit well-manicured is key.
  4. Schedule a checkup. At least once each year, homeowners should hire a professional to inspect and perform preventative maintenance on an HVAC unit. This works to identify and address issues before they become a problem (like losing heat on Charleston’s one snow day).

 

Interested in having your HVAC unit inspected by a professional? We encourage you to give us a call at (843) 225-2665.

 

The Importance Of Good Air Quality

Your health starts at home! The air you breathe in can help predict your health and could even make you sick if certain precautions are not taken. Here at LimRic Plumbing, Heating & Air, we have a wonderful team of professionals who are able to help you improve your overall air quality.

Without proper air quality in your home, you and your family can get really sick. Indoor pollution tends to lurk near heating and cooling systems the most. Your air conditioning system can often leave traces of water in the ducts and creates the perfect breeding ground for mold and bacteria. This can cause asthma, allergies, coughing, and headaches. Mold and bacteria growth can be prevented by having your ducts cleaned regularly by a professional.

Toxins can be found in your furniture, cleaners, and even your toiletries. Several services are offered by our team of experts such as air cleansers, humidifiers, ventilators, and UV lamps to all help enhance your indoor air quality for you and your family.

Learn more by calling LimRic Plumbing, Heating & Air at (843) 940-7681.