Have you ever wondered what goes into a heating or air conditioning system for a large office building or another large building like a mall or a school? My name is Evelyn, and I am an HVAC architect. I design heating and air conditioning systems for large, corporate buildings. Making sure that a large building with many rooms or offices is efficiently heated and cooled is a very large job and is much more complicated than simply heating or cooling a home. This blog will educate the reader on how heating and cooling jobs this large are designed and completed.
Your HVAC system might be designed to brave the elements, but hurricane-force winds and rain can have a destructive effect on your heating and cooling system. To keep your long-term investment from being damaged by hurricanes and storms, here are some helpful tips you can use before and after the storm.
Before the Storm
The first thing you want to do long before the storms arrive is make sure your HVAC system's outdoor cabinet (the portion that contains the compressor and condenser) is securely anchored in place. Not only should your outdoor cabinet be installed on a concrete pad, but it should also be firmly bolted to the concrete using high-quality hurricane straps. This will prevent your HVAC unit from taking flight in the midst of the storm.
You'll also want to turn your HVAC unit off just before the storm's arrival. If you're still using your air conditioner, you'll want to cool your home as much as possible before shutting the unit off for the duration of the storm. You can turn off your HVAC system by locating the designated circuit breaker for the unit and flipping the breaker to the "off" position.
Hurricane-force winds can also throw objects and debris into your outdoor cabinet, potentially puncturing the condenser coil and damaging other components. You can prevent this by fashioning a protective box out of plywood and placing it over the outdoor cabinet. If you don't have enough time to make a plywood box, simply cover the HVAC system with a tarp.
After the Storm
In the aftermath of the storm, you'll want to give your HVAC system a thorough look-over before turning the system back on. After removing the box or tarp, you'll want to make sure that the outdoor cabinet didn't spend its time underwater during the storm. If the unit was thoroughly inundated with seawater at any point of the storm, it could create underlying rust and corrosion issues that'll eventually impact your HVAC system's performance.
If you didn't have a protective cover over the unit during the storm, carefully check the unit for any signs of damage. You should also take a close look at the refrigerant lines as well as the electrical connections for damage.
At this point, you can clean up any debris that accumulated around the outdoor cabinet and turn the HVAC system back on. If you're concerned about any long-term damage that could have been caused by the hurricane or severe storm, you can always have your HVAC contractor take a thorough look at the HVAC system and offer his or her opinion.