How To Check For Electrical Damage After A Storm

Floridians had quite the scare this past weekend and many are facing returning to damaged or flooded homes while others may only have to clean up debris in the yard. However you may have been affected, our thoughts are with you and your family. While you are putting your world back together remember to take caution before turning your home’s air conditioner back on.

Sitting a few days without power or having been turned off, potential damage from flying or falling debris, or damage from water are all potential risks facing your unit and if you do not inspect your unit prior to turning it back on, it becomes a risk to you and your home.

HOW DO YOU KNOW IF YOUR AIR CONDITIONER HAS ELECTRICAL DAMGE?

If you experienced a power outage or power surge, there is a chance that your air conditioner was affected by this change in power. Before rushing to turn on your air conditioner once power has been restored be sure to first check for signs of electrical damage. In order to do this, take the follow steps:

  • Ensure your safety. Make sure the air conditioner is turned off at the thermostat.
  • Go to your electrical panel*. Turn the switch labeled for the air conditioner to the “off” position. Wait a minute and then switch it back to the “on” position. This will reset the external circuit breaker.
  • Wait 30 minutes. This is an important step, even if it seems unbearable if you have been without power (and air conditioning) for a few days. This waiting period will ensure that your air conditioner’s internal circuit breaker has had time to also reset – which it cannot do if the thermostat is telling it to begin to cool.
  • Turn your thermostat back on. Make sure it is set to “cool”. If the air conditioner kicks back on – everything is fine and the power surges/ power outages did not cause any electrical damage. However, if the thermostat is on, and you did wait the necessary 30 minutes, and the air conditioner still does not turn back on, then it is likely that your air conditioner experienced some electrical damage during the storm.
  • Call a professional. If your unit does not turn back on and there is likely electrical damage, contact our office for a thorough evaluation and repairs.

*IMPORTANT NOTE: If the circuit breaker trips after turning the unit back on, do not keep trying to reset the switch at the electrical panel. Also, if the switch won’t stay on, it is likely that you have electrical damage – but your air conditioner may not be the source of the damage. If this is the case you may need to reach out to an electrician as well.

IF YOUR HOME FLOODED AND YOUR AIR CONDITIONER WAS IN STANDING WATER

Although air conditioners are designed to withstand the elements such as severe rainstorms, there are some situations in which all precautions are little help. Flooding can leave your air conditioning unit left in standing water for hours or even days. Typically, the water must be about a foot in height for it to cause any damage but if it is (or was at any point), it can cause serious damage and repairs. To avoid further damage to your unit, take the following precautions and call us at (727) 856-4822 to have one of our skilled technicians to inspect your unit.

  • Turn off your air conditioner at the thermostat and at the electrical panel.
  • Remove the standing water from around your air conditioner and allow it to dry out.
  • Clear away any debris from around your air conditioner.
  • Do not attempt to run your air conditioner until after it is inspected by a professional (and you are given the okay to do so).
  • Do not cover your air conditioner to prevent further water damage as the tarp will prevent the water from drying out and can cause mold to grow.

HOW TO REDUCE THE RISK OF ELECTRICAL DAMAGE DURING A STORM

  • Turn off your air conditioner at the thermostat prior to the start of the storm.
  • Cover your air conditioner with a tarp to reduce the chance of water or small debris from entering your unit.
  • Reduce the risk of standing water by ensuring there aren’t any holes or ditches near your air conditioning unit. Your air conditioning should have been installed on a raised platform to keep it slightly above ground level.

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