HVAC damages don't always stem from poor maintenance or electrical malfunctions; even a freak storm can wreak havoc on your HVAC system. Therefore, when the storm season is approaching, take the following precautions to safeguard your HVAC system:
Clear the Area around the Outdoor Unit
One way in which storms damage HVAC systems is by hurling debris against the outdoor unit. Bigger items can cause physical damage to the fins while smaller ones will cause clogging; both things will interfere with your system's operation. Therefore, clear the area around the outdoor unit to reduce the chances of it being hit by debris. This involves packing off or moving lawn chairs, raking off dead leaves and branches, and trimming trees around the area.
Install a Sump Pump in the Basement
If your HVAC unit is located in the basement, then it faces the danger of getting flooded with water and mud. Both of these can cause electrical damage or clog up the HVAC unit. Prevent flooding damage by installing a sump pump in the basement so that it can get rid of the floodwaters as soon as they appear in your basement. Don't just install the sump pump and leave it there; have it serviced regularly to ensure it's always operational. Talk with a plumbing contractor about using a sump pump properly.
Turn Off the System if the Storm is Bad
During a particularly bad storm, it's advisable to turn off the HVAC system. This is especially useful if there are thunderstorms and lightning strikes, which increases the risk of lightning striking your HVAC's outdoor unit. A lightning strike could be disastrous since it can fry the electrical parts of your HVAC system and necessitate an expensive repair. In fact, this is true of all major electrical appliances, and not just the heating and cooling system.
Cover Up the Unit
It's also helpful to cover up the outside unit, especially if a particularly strong storm is forecasted. This is necessary because while the measures above will go a long way in protecting your HVAC unit, there is no guarantee that they will work and some debris or rain may still reach the unit. Covering up the system with a suitable material (preferably waterproof), such as a tarpaulin, provides a further protection against these weather elements.
Hopefully, the precautions above will help and you will never have to deal with storm damage on your HVAC system. If that does happen, however, consult a technician to carry out the necessary repairs and prevent further damage. In fact, it's also advisable to inspect the unit after a major storm so that no damage goes unnoticed.