How Hurricane Force Winds Impact HVAC Systems?

The following excerpts from an article on “Windblown: How hurricane force winds impact HVAC systems”, written by Matt Livingston of HVAC Investigators, originally published on Property Casualty 360, September 2017.

Dust and debris-clogged condenser coils

High winds that accompany a hurricane often lead to excessive airborne dust and debris that will easily (in the best-case scenario) clog the aluminum fins of an HVAC system’s condenser coil. When the storm passes, property owners will often find the fins of the condenser coil packed with dirt, dust, grass, leaves and other small, lightweight objects from the surrounding environment.

When a condenser coil becomes clogged, the airflow through the unit is likewise restricted. This restriction reduces the potential heat transfer from the refrigerant to the ambient air, and in turn inhibits the HVAC system’s ability to adequately cool the conditioned space. It also causes the unit to work harder than under normal conditions, and slightly increases the system’s power consumption. Fortunately, a clogged condenser coil is relatively easy to repair.

Large foreign object impact to the condenser coil

Unlike smaller debris that simply clogs or dents the condenser coil, large, heavy objects picked up by strong winds can cause significant damage to an outdoor condensing unit. Hurricane force winds can send objects such as large branches, shallow-rooted trees or heavy building materials flying. If these objects make contact with the condensing unit, they may penetrate the refrigerant lines, damage multiple system components or even crush the system in its entirety. The extent to which a system is damaged depends not only on the weight and speed of the flying object, but also on the construction of the condensing unit. Of course, the severity of system damage and availability of replacement parts will dictate if the unit is repairable.

Whether it is a typical day or after a storm and in emergency situations, First Response Heating & Cooling is here for you! We’re available 24/7 and are only a call away! First Response serves Plant City, Tampa, Lakeland, Brandon, Valrico, Seffner and surrounding communities

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