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After a severe storm, take precautions before starting heating & cooling equipment

Storm damaged air conditioner.jpg

UPDATED :  

Homeowners should not be too eager to get things back to normal after a storm, because improper maintenance and preparation can cause problems years later.

After a severe thunderstorm, tornado or hurricane - natural events that frequent Central Florida - homeowners need to take several precautions before attempting to salvage or restart heating and cooling equipment.

"It's important to remember not to immediately restart heating and cooling equipment after a severe storm because it can be dangerous and could cause further damage," said Don Shehane, Residential Service Manager at Energy Air.

"The equipment may be severely damaged, its wiring may be damaged or it may have debris lodged in it. These are some of the many reasons why it's best to have a qualified service technician inspect your heating and cooling equipment after a severe storm."

"To ensure your safety and prevent further damage to equipment, take the following steps after a storm:

  • If the storm caused flooding, don't start equipment until you are certain there is no water inside any components. If you're not sure, don't start it.
  • Have a reputable electrician or a technician from the power company or city inspect your home's internal and external wiring to make sure they're dry and safe before you turn on any electrical equipment.
  • If the power company gives you approval to turn on the electricity in your home, but you think you may have a problem with your heating or cooling equipment, have the service company disconnect the equipment from the electrical source, and have it properly serviced first.
  • If there was flooding, open equipment and get some air circulating inside. This will speed up the drying process. After a storm, use only reputable service companies to help you get your air conditioner and heater up and running again.

"Unscrupulous companies can descend on disaster areas," Don says. "Be careful. If necessary, go without service a little longer to make sure you get real value for your money."