Late-Season Hurricane Hitting: Protect Your Outdoor AC With These Tips

If a late-season hurricane threatens your area, protect your outdoor AC unit before the storm hits. Even if the hurricane makes landfall in another location, it can still produce enough high winds and rain to damage your unit. But if you follow the tips below, you can protect your air conditioner. Here's what you do.

Reinforce the Unit's Concrete Support Pad

One of the first things you should do is reinforce the concrete support pad beneath your AC unit, especially if it's weak or sunken into the ground. The concrete pad protects the bottom of your unit from rain and dirt. If you don't secure the pad before the storm arrives, the soil around the unit can bog down with water and sink the unit further into the ground.

Here's what you do:

  • Use a rake to clean away weeds and overgrown grass from around and beneath the concrete pad. If necessary, use a small digging tool to pull up any plant roots you find.
  • Fill the empty spaces beneath the pad with dirt. You can find a bag of fill dirt at your local gardening store. If you don't have time to buy fill dirt, you can use the dirt from your yard to complete this step.
  • Surround the base with mulch after you fill it with the dirt. The mulch will keep the ground below the concrete pad from becoming overly soaked with rainwater.

If you notice rocks, stones or other sharp objects near the AC unit, remove them. Also, trim away any overgrown trees that sit around, near or over the AC unit. These things can quickly damage your AC if they become flying missiles during the storm.

After you reinforce the pad, it's time to protect the air conditioner's housing.

Place a Tarp Over the Unit

Although outdoor units are designed to withstand rain and snow, excessive downpours of rain can break their fans and penetrate the electronic parts inside them. Covering your AC unit with a large vinyl tarp is a great way to protect it from flying missiles and rainwater.

If you don't have time to go out and purchase a vinyl tarp, you can use a vinyl tablecloth. Here's how you place the tarp or tablecloth over and around the AC:

  • Cut power to your cooling system. You can't run the unit with the covering on it. 
  • Place the covering over the unit, then position the covering so that it hangs close to the concrete base.
  • Use thick rope or nylon to secure the covering around the unit, beginning at the base and moving up toward the unit's fan. Be sure to wrap the rope or nylon around the unit at least 5-10 times, then tie the ends into a knot.

Don't place anything on the top of the covered AC, such as bricks and cinder blocks. The hurricane's winds can turn these things into dangerous missiles. Your outdoor unit should be safe and secure during the storm.

If you need additional help with securing your outdoor unit during a potentially dangerous late-season hurricane, contact your AC specialists--someone like JJ Bafaro Inc--today.