During normal conditions, there are general things you should do to protect your HVAC system, but you will have to take many more steps to protect your system from natural disasters. If you want to know what you can do to make sure that your HVAC system is operational all year round, you need to focus on three general areas: general tasks, weatherproofing, and disaster protection.
Taking Care of General Tasks
mage via Flickr by DaynaT
One general task you should take care of is changing your filters regularly. While many experts suggest that you change your filters once every three months, you should inspect them once every month and change them accordingly if you use your heating and cooling systems heavily throughout the year.
You can also remove any foliage, debris, and other objects from your outside units. Keep all objects at least two to three feet away from your outside air conditioning unit. Inside your home, make sure that nothing is blocking your vents. Doing all this ensures that your HVAC system will not have to work harder to condition the air in your home and that objects don't get into the fans and damage other components of your system.
Preparing for All Sorts of Weather
You should have an annual tune-up for your heating HVAC system to make sure it is in fine working order, but you can prepare your HVAC system for any type of weather with seasonal tune-ups. These are best done in the spring and fall to prepare for the summer and winter, respectively.
A seasonal tune-up may be all that you need to prepare for the summer, but insulation protects your HVAC year-round. For example, if you insulate your outer walls and attic, that will keep heated or air-conditioned air inside your home and prevent outside air from affecting your inside temperatures, thus making your HVAC system more energy efficient. Before the winter, get a cover for your outside AC unit. The cover will protect the unit from excessive snowfall and ice.
Dealing With Natural Disasters
Prepare for natural disasters like hurricanes, tornadoes, and floods by securing your HVAC in place. To protect your AC unit from hurricanes, secure it with straps so that high-velocity winds don't blow it away. You may be able to protect your unit from tornadoes by boarding up the unit and from minor floods by raising the unit on a platform, as
Krauss & Krane suggests. If you know that a storm is coming, turn your circuit breakers to the off position and have your system inspected after the storm passes.
Sometimes, no amount of planning and preparation can prevent your HVAC system from taking on damage. That's why you should invest in disaster insurance. Depending on your plan, you may be covered for HVAC system repair. If your insurance plan doesn't cover damage from certain natural disasters, you may be able to apply for disaster relief from FEMA, which may assist you by replacing destroyed HVAC equipment, among other things.
Before the weather changes or disaster hits, do all you can to protect your HVAC system. Have a plan in place in case your HVAC system sustains any damage so you can have that system up and running again.

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