Thunderstorms are a beautiful site to see, but they can sure do some damage to your HVAC system. Let’s talk about lightning strikes and how you can minimize the chance of power damage your system.
Turn off your AC
The best defense is to shut off the system entirely at the thermostat or electrical circuit. We know this doesn’t sound particularly good on a comfort level, but it sure reduces the chances of a power surge through your system. This doesn’t 100% guarantee that your system will not be damaged, but it reduces the chances greatly!
If a lightning strike occurs while your system is operating, the surge of power creates a spike in voltage and can damage the system’s components, controls and electrical wiring. Sometimes the damage done to an air conditioning unit is immediate and clear. However, sometimes you may not notice right away, but your system performance will decrease over time.
There are many parts of the unit that can be damaged. One of the most common parts affected by lighting is the capacitor, which is not expensive to replace. But, if left unchecked can cause compressor failure which is a much more expensive to replace.
If you suspect your system has been hit by a power surge, act at once. If you smell gas or burning after a lightning strike, then leave the premises at once and contact 9-1-1.
Checking for Damage
Insurance companies will want all the details of a lightning strike to your home. The first thing to do is document the incident. Write down the date and time. Check other appliances and electronics for damage. Take pictures or videos of the damage caused by the power surge. Be sure that everything that was damaged has been repaired or replaced prior to final payment by your insurance company.
If the air conditioner is not working, first turn the thermostat on. If it does not work, then check the electrical breaker or replace the battery. Verify that the indoor fan and outdoor condenser are both working. If any of these fails, you should contact a service professional like one of the experts at Big Fish.
Again, the best defense against a lightning strike is to turn off you HVAC unit entirely. This cannot prevent a strike from hitting the unit itself, but it can minimize the risk of damaging the entire system.
Big Fish is always here for you. If your air conditioner has been affected by a lightning strike, give us a call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at 512-653-1414 to schedule an inspection or repair.