As we're recovering from Hurricane Irma and the damage left behind along the Treasure Coast, it's important to take care of your air conditioning unit. Because the compressor unit is housed outside, it may have sustained some damage during the storm. Though we understand the importance of running your air conditioner as soon as your electricity is restored, it's just as important that you check the unit thoroughly for damage before turning it back on.
Outdoor A/C Damage Assessment
Before you turn your A/C back on, you should check for a few things:
- Is there obvious damage from downed trees or other wind-blown debris?
- Is there is burnt electrical smoke damage?
- Are the vents and cooling fan clear of debris and other items?
- Are the electrical lines and refrigerant damaged?
- Has the compressor system been submerged in flood water?
In the case of obvious damage from trees and other flying debris, call in the professionals before turning on the system. It will need to be checked thoroughly and repaired, if necessary, before use.
There may be obvious signs on the unit, such as mud on the outside of the unit, that will tell you whether your system was submerged in flood waters during or after the storm. In addition, you can check your home's exterior for the high-water mark, which will appear as a dirt stain along your home's exterior wall; you should be able to determine whether your system was submerged based on how high the high-water mark appears on your home. If the outdoor compressor unit was submerged in flood waters, it will need to be inspected and professionally cleaned by a trusted HVAC company before you attempt to turn it back on. The water and mud may have compromised the cooling coils and, if still wet, the internal electronic systems may short out when turned on.
If your home flooded, you should check on the air handler inside your home to ensure it is dry and unaffected by flood waters. If the water reached the air handler, it should be inspected, cleaned, and repaired, as necessary, by an experienced technician. If water has gotten inside the system, it could have shorted out the electronic components or be causing issues with other crucial parts.
Free and Clear
After checking both the outdoor compressor and indoor air handler units and the system seems to be free of debris and water damage, you can turn it on. You should do another check once it's running. Does the fan sound right? Is cool air blowing? Does the air it's blowing smell odd (this will tell you if there is potential electrical shorting or smoke)? Continue to keep an eye on it for a day or so following a strong storm like Hurricane Irma. If you're still concerned, consider turning it off at night while you are unable to monitor it. Or, call the professionals at American Air Cares for a service visit. Your health and comfort are important to us.
As we all continue the clean-up process, our thoughts are with everyone affected by Hurricane Irma.