In the spring, severe storms or high winds can tear through the Washington, D.C./Metro area knocking out power. Before the storm arrives, you should be prepared so that when the power is restored, your life can return to normal. It is a best practice to clear the yard before the storm comes and make sure water can flow away from the house. Secure your trash cans, patio furniture, and bikes; you don’t want anything becoming a projectile. If your area is prone to flooding, move lower level items above the possible crest. If you have a battery back-up sump pump, make sure the battery has a good charge. If you do not have this vital piece of equipment, stop preparing and go get one! When you return, you may then finish the prep and being secure.
When the storm is over and the power returns, we are ready to return to our “normal.” Hopefully when you go outside to check the exterior grounds, there are no trees down or branches affecting your structure. You were good about securing your yard items, let’s hope your neighbor’s efforts matched. Check for any broken windows or vehicle damage. Look over other structures. Do you see any lights on? Many times, some systems will come back on themselves, while other systems may have been hit with a power surge and will need to be reset.
Now, check your electrical panel for any tripped or damaged circuit breakers. Safety is your main concern. If the area is flooded, do not go near any electrical equipment and call a professional instead. If all is dry and the power has been restored to the rest of the house, it is now time to restart your heating and cooling system.
Homeowners need to take several precautions before attempting to restart heating and cooling equipment that may have shut off due to power failures or other environmental issues.
“It’s important to remember not to immediately restart heating and cooling equipment after a severe storm because it can be dangerous and could cause further damage,” said Justin Johnson of Lennox International. “The equipment may be severely damaged, its wiring may be damaged, or it may have debris lodged in it. These are some of the many reasons why it’s best to have a qualified service technician inspect your heating and cooling equipment after a severe storm.”
Homeowners should not be too anxious to get things back to normal after a storm because improper maintenance and preparation can cause problems years later.
To ensure your safety and prevent further damage to equipment, you should take the following steps after a storm:
- If the storm caused flooding, don’t start equipment until you are certain there is no water inside any components. If you’re not sure, don’t start it.
- Have a reputable electrician or a technician from the power company or city inspect your home’s internal and external wiring to make sure they are dry and safe before you turn on any electrical equipment.
- If the power company gives you approval to turn on the electricity in your home, but you think you may have a problem with your heating or cooling equipment, have the service company disconnect the equipment from the electrical source. Get the equipment serviced properly first.
- If there was flooding, open equipment and, if possible, get some air circulation going to speed the drying process.
- Use only reputable service companies. “Unscrupulous companies can descend on disaster areas,” Justin Johnson said. “Be careful. If necessary, go without service a little longer to make sure you get what you pay for.”
To find out more about protecting your heating and cooling equipment after a severe storm, call Leonard Splaine Company the Lennox expert in Northern Virginia.