Or so the song says. But what do you do when the rain lasts for a few weeks, the way it does in Richmond in the spring? Since we get a lot of questions from concerned homeowners, it made sense to write a list of the most frequent “inclement weather” questions we get asked. If we somehow missed one, don’t hesitate to let us know!
I see that rain/snow/hail goes into my system, how can I protect my unit?
The first thing you should be aware of is that your unit was designed with inclement weather in mind. The internal components are either not water/moisture sensitive, or they are protected from the elements in other ways (sealed, covered, wrapped with waterproof self-adhesive plastic…). If you’re concerned, or your unit’s performance suffers more than expected during inclement weather, you should have a professional give it a look to make sure there isn’t a deeper problem. If no problem was discovered, and you’re still concerned about it, many manufacturers have covers available. But, the vast majority of homeowners don’t need them, so most homeowners don’t worry about them.
What should I do if it starts to flood?
The short answer is that the most important thing is the safety and well-being of you and your family. Getting to high ground and staying safe should be your first priority. While units are extremely water resistant, full submersion exceeds that ability. So, if you believe that the water will rise high enough to submerge, or partially submerge your unit, the first thing to do is to turn it off to prevent electrical damage. Afterwards, you’ll want to schedule a full diagnostic, preferably before restoring power to the unit. If it’s still wet inside, turning it on before it can be professionally assessed can cause damage as bad as if it had been left on and submerged!
What should I do if it starts to hail?
Where hail is a frequent concern, many homeowners buy or build special covers for their units. These are intended to protect the unit from spheres of ice hitting their units with the velocity of a 30,000-foot free-fall. Especially intuitive designs offer shade, for when it isn’t raining (keeping your unit in shade can improve efficiency and help lower your AC bill…). For homeowners in the Richmond area, we get hail so infrequently that this isn’t as large of a concern as it is in other areas of the country.
I have a lot of debris from fallen trees. Is my unit okay?
While some damages leave a lot of evidence (dents, scratched paint, etc.) some damage can happen internally and, because of strong engineering, not leave any outward signs. This means that your first sign of a problem might only be that your system isn’t working the way it used to. If it isn’t, or you think it isn’t, the next step would be a quick visual inspection. There’s no need to disassemble the unit, just check the outside. If you find something, or if there seems to be a problem, but there is no visual sign, the next, best course of action is to give us a call to have your system professionally inspected.
Is there anything else I should be aware of?
Well, since you asked… When you remove that debris, if you are in an area where you are legally able to burn it, you should do so with enough distance that the smoke isn’t sucked into your unit. The smoke from a wood fire can leave a tar-like buildup, called creosote, on the surfaces it touches. This can reduce your unit’s ability to exchange heat and lead to premature failure. The best choice, here, is to simply place the fire far enough away that it won’t be a problem.