Protect Your System from Power Outages
Especially in Florida, where a power outage occurs frequently, you should not only protect your expensive computer and audio equipment with batteries and surge protectors but also protect your investment in your air conditioning system. Be proactive and prepare your HVAC system against the high voltage surge and possible after-effects of a power outage as follows:
By turning off the power to your unit, you block a potential surge at the source. In addition, you should consider adding a surge protector.
A surge protector will help to protect your AC equipment while it is in operation by helping to block surges of electricity during a major storm or hurricane.
Your To-Do List for Storm Preparation
Turn your AC unit off prior to a severe storm.
If you have a window unit, unplug it entirely.
Cover your outdoor unit with a tarp prior to a storm to protect it from rain and debris.
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.
Bring in a Professional
It’s ideal to schedule an inspection of your AC unit to ensure it can withstand the wear and tear that a severe storm can create. Also, it’s a good idea to bring in a professional heating and air technician after a severe storm to inspect for any possible damage.
Remain Alert to the Danger of Carbon Monoxide.
The Florida Department of Health urges residents to take precautions against carbon monoxide (CO) exposure.
CO is an invisible, odorless, tasteless gas and is highly poisonous. Depending on the level of exposure, CO may cause fatigue, weakness, and chest pains for those with heart disease. Other symptoms can include shortness of breath upon exertion, nausea, vomiting, headaches, and confusion. You may also experience a lack of coordination, impaired vision, or loss of consciousness, and even death.
DOH-Leon recommends the following precautions to help prevent CO poisoning:
• Do not burn charcoal or gas grills inside a house, garage, vehicle, tent or fireplace.
• NEVER use a generator indoors, including in homes, garages, basements, crawl spaces and other enclosed or partially enclosed areas, even with ventilation. Opening doors and windows or using fans will not prevent CO buildup in the home.
• ALWAYS locate the unit outdoors on a dry surface, away from doors, windows, vents and air conditioning equipment that could allow CO to come indoors. Follow the instructions that come with your generator.
• Install battery-operated CO alarms or plug-in CO alarms with battery backup in your home, according to the manufacturer’s installation instructions. The CO alarms should be certified to the requirements of the latest safety standards for CO alarms.
• Test your CO alarms frequently and replace dead batteries.
• Remember that you cannot see or smell CO and portable generators can produce high levels of CO very quickly.
• If you start to feel sick, dizzy or weak while using a generator, get to fresh air RIGHT AWAY…DO NOT DELAY.
• If you have a poisoning emergency, call your nearest Florida Poison Information Center at 1-800-222-1222. If the victim has collapsed or is not breathing, call 9-1-1 immediately.