June to November is hurricane season. These months bring potential threats including rain, wind and power outages. This, however, is not just a coastal problem. Far inland from where hurricanes hit, rain, wind, water and tornadoes are a major possibility.
For this reason, hurricane prep and having the proper hurricane essentials is vital for all homeowners. To assist, Air Tech of Katy has compiled a list of essentials and tips to keep your home and HVAC unit safe.
When a hurricane is first announced, make sure you have enough supplies and that your insurance information and personal documents are up-to-date. Make lists of medications, important phone numbers, valuables and useful tools. Copy all important documents and keep them in a secure, password-protected digital space.
To prepare for a possible power outage, keep your cell phone charged and purchase backup charging devices. If you or anyone in your home has a disability, identify if any additional help will be needed.
Before a hurricane hits land, you might have to evacuate. Stay informed on updates and evacuation orders and make sure everyone in your home knows and understands the hurricane plan. To keep money coming into your home after the storm, ensure your job has a continuity plan.
Living in an evacuation zone means you may have to leave quickly. If you live in such an area, learn the route, practice it and identify where you will stay. You can address any concerns to your state’s emergency information management office.
Must-Have Hurricane Essentials
When a hurricane is first announced, it is important to start preparing the essentials. In case of evacuation, make sure you have access to a relative’s house or public shelter and a vehicle with a full gas tank.
- First aid kits, medical supplies and pet care items
- Access to a relative’s house or public shelter if necessary
- Vehicle with a full gas tank
- On-hand cash if banks and ATMs become unavailable
- Medical alert tags or bracelets identifying disabilities
- Sturdy, waterproof clothing and shoes
- Cookware and eating utensils
- Non-perishable food (enough for three-seven days)
- Water (enough for three-seven days, roughly one gallon per person per day)
- Radio, flashlight and batteries
- Waterproof containers for important documents
Protecting Your Home
Hurricane prep around your home helps ensure everyone’s safety. Brace your garage door to prevent heavy winds from breaking it down and ripping off the roof. Ensure all doors and windows are locked for further protection against broken glass and flying debris. Prevent water damage by moving cars to higher ground and valuables off the floor.
Make sure that you have proper flood insurance and updated home inventory, both of which make future property claims easier.
In severe storms, electrical surges can severely damage kitchen appliances and home entertainment systems. To keep this situation from occurring, unplug appliances or invest in a surge protector. Remove dead limbs or overhanging trees from your property before they can cause damage and secure loose objects such as patio furniture and grills.
Lastly, you have a window or portable AC unit, remove the units and ducts, sealing any openings with discharge ducts exhausting outside.
Hurricane Prep For AC Units
Protecting your AC system so that it works efficiently after a storm is just as important as protecting your home. If a power outage is likely, lower the thermostat’s setting, close curtains and blinds and keep doors and windows shut to pre-cool your home. This will allow you to stay comfortable until power is restored.
Turn off electricity to your air conditioner to prevent damage from lightning. To stay safe, shut off power to your air conditioning system, thermostat and circuit breaker and clear away any debris. If you’re expecting high winds, cover your outdoor unit with a tarp or plywood to protect it from flying debris.
Also, if your outdoor condenser is elevated, protect it from strong gusts of wind by securing it with hurricane straps. If there is a flood risk, have an HVAC professional elevate the unit. When it’s safe, remove the covering and turn on the unit to prevent the growth of mold and mildew.
Before turning on your system, check for any damage. Turning on a damaged system could make the problem worse. For instance, strong winds can cause disconnections that lead to refrigerant leaks. If you have problems or need repairs, contact an HVAC professional.
Start Preparing For Hurricanes Today
As so much goes into hurricane prep, it’s important to start getting what you need as early as possible. Stay up to date on weather alerts, have the proper supplies and understand evacuation plans.