The 2011 Florida hurricane season is upon us with Hurricane Irene gaining strength in the Atlantic Ocean. Forecasters have predicted this hurricane season to be one of the worst we’ve seen in five years. Early estimates say there will be approximately 17 named storms, which include nine hurricanes and five major hurricanes of Category 3 or higher.

If you lived in Central Florida during the 2004 hurricane season, you know the damage that strong wind and excessive rain can cause. By now, you’ve heard the news reports and warnings that cover the basics when a storm is approaching: bring in the plants and patio chairs, turn over outdoor tables if you’re unable to fit them in the garage, board up your windows where possible.

But what about your heating and air conditioning system in bad weather? The first recommendation is to shut everything down if it looks like a power outage is inevitable. This will help reduce the risk of blowing out circuits and burning out the compressor when the electricity does return.

Here are some additional tips to ensure your HVAC system stays protected from high winds, falling debris, and dangerous lightning.

To-Do List for Hurricane Preparation:

  • Turn your AC unit off prior to a severe storm.
  • If you have a window unit, unplug it entirely.
  • Cover your outside unit and make sure it’s secure.
  • Do not turn your unit back on immediately following a storm or hurricane.
  • Inspect the unit and surrounding area first to ensure it’s in proper working condition.

Once the storm has passed, check your outside equipment for any damage like dents or dings from fallen debris. If you feel something is obstructing your system and preventing it from working properly, it might be best to contact your HVAC experts at American Air, Plumbing, and Electrical before you turn your unit back on.

Remember, as you make plans and prepare your emergency hurricane kits, take care to watch your heating and cooling systems. You’ve spent a lot of money having these systems installed and maintained. With the proper precautions, you can protect your investment and avoid coming home to an unpleasant situation.

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