From derechos that strike without warning to the torrential rain and winds of a hurricane, summer has plenty for homeowners to fear. While your first concern following any storm should always be your home itself, don't neglect to check your HVAC system for damage as soon as possible. Your HVAC components are durable, but they are not invincible when faced with nature's fury. Since you can find your AC condenser outside, this is the unit that you will want to check. These three steps will help you to evaluate the condition of the condenser and recognize signs that you may need professional help.
Check for Physical Damage and Clear Debris
Before doing anything else, examine your condenser unit for signs of direct physical damage. If branches or heavy objects were blowing around your yard, then these could have potentially dented the casing or even made their way inside. Take special care to ensure that nothing has become lodged in the fan or the condenser coils. If you spot any outward signs of damage, shut off power to your system and contact a professional for a more thorough evaluation. If not, clear any nearby debris from in or around the unit. On some models, you can remove the outer casing to clean debris from the interior. Removing debris limits the chance of future damage and helps to ensure proper airflow around the coils.
Watch for Flooding
Flooding is another potential danger. Although air conditioning repair installers typically place condensers on flat, raised surfaces, severe storms may cause flooding in unexpected locations. Water is not harmful to the unit, but you should be concerned about flooding severe enough to submerge any part of the condenser. If there's standing water in or around the unit, immediately shut off the power. In many cases, you should be able to allow the water to drain and then resume normal operation of your air conditioning system. If the water remains for too long, then it may be worthwhile to schedule an inspection to check for rust or other problems.
Look for Signs of Movement
As a general rule, your condenser should always stay in one place. Sadly, nature often likes a challenge, and strong winds can uproot a unit that lacks hurricane straps or another mounting solution. Small amounts of movement can also potentially damage connected electrical wiring or refrigerant loop plumbing.
If you notice any signs that your condenser may have shifted in the wind, then there may be additional damage that you do not see. You'll need a professional to check the unit for issues and return it to its original location. Investing in some hurricane straps for the future may be a good idea as well.