Dust storms are a pretty common occurrence in Arizona, and more often than not, they are a nuisance for many homeowners. This is because they can degrade the air in your home and make it harder for you to keep your home cleaner. In addition to this, dust storms can have more severe consequences like damaging your AC unit, resulting in expensive repair costs, and in extreme cases, costly replacements.
How Can Dust Storms Damage Your AC Unit?
Before you can go on and start preparing your AC unit for a dust storm, you must understand the damage that your AC unit can endure during such harsh events. Here are the primary ways dust storms can damage your HVAC system.
Dust accumulates in your AC unit’s coil, leading to a dirty coil, which will have reduced performance. Therefore, it will have to work harder to put out the same measure of cool air. As a result, the coil will wear out faster, and you will have higher electrical bills.
Over the years, the dust will also cake onto your outdoor fan, making it work harder and ultimately overheat.
Dust can also build up throughout your HVAC system, clogging up your filters and ductwork. This will put an excessive strain on your entire HVAC system, significantly reducing its longevity.
Preparing Your HVAC System for a Dust Haboob
Here are four ways to prepare your AC unit for a dust storm.
Seal Your House Well
Seal your house well to keep out the dust. This involves closing all the windows and doors. If there are any gaps between the doors or windows and their frames, seal them up with duct tape. Check your walls, garage, and attic for any unwanted openings or crevices, and plug them up with duct tape.
If you have an HVAC system with a roof unit, you should protect it with a hail guard. Sealing up your home offers the added benefit of having clean air to breathe inside the house during a dust storm.
Switch Off Your HVAC System
You must switch off your entire HVAC system before a dust storm to protect it from damage. This can make your home quite uncomfortable as most dust storms strike during summer when you need your AC unit to be cooling your home. Besides the short-time discomfort that you will have to deal with, this move will prevent dust from being pulled in and accumulating throughout your HVAC system, which can result in significant damage.
Moreover, dust storms can cause power supply irregularities like repeated outages, resulting in the damage of your AC unit if it’s turned on at such moments. It’s crucial that you have sufficient cool drinking with you to help cool down and hydrate your body for the duration that your HVAC unit will be switched off.
Engage in Some Preventive Maintenance
You should engage in some preventive maintenance before the dust storm hits to protect your AC unit. Preventative maintenance will include getting rid of moisture or water droplets sitting on your outdoor unit. This will reduce the chances of dust caking up on your outdoor fan during the dust storm.
Moreover, you should get rid of any moisture that may be trapped in any other parts of your HVAC system to curtail the same outcome. It’s best that you have an approved and experienced AC technician handle the preventive maintenance to prepare our AC unit for a dust storm.
You don’t have to worry about enlisting an AC technician every time there is a dust storm, as you likely only have to do preventive maintenance only once at the start of every season. As summer is usually the dust storm season in Arizona, we recommend you do this procedure at the beginning of summer.
Install a Surge Protector
Some dust storms are accompanied by lightning strikes which bring about power surges. Power surges usually cause your home’s circuit breaker to trip to protect all the electrical equipment connected to your electric system, including your HVAC system. However, in some cases, the protection offered by breaker boxes is not enough to keep your AC unit safe. This is because the power surges still have a moment to damage your electronics before the breaker trips.
When power surges are frequent and your breaker keeps tripping frequently, the capacitors, wires, and other electrical components within your AC unit will endure some damage. The damage to these electrical components will significantly cut down the durability of your HVAC system, although it will continue working fine for the time being. Installing a surge protector will provide an additional layer of shielding from the harsh effect of power surges on your AC unit and other electrical equipment in your home.
What to Do After a Dust Storm
Now that you know how to prepare your AC unit for a dust storm, it’s crucial that you also have some information on what to do after. Here are five things that you should do after a dust storm:
- Vacuum your evaporator coils to remove any dust that might have accumulated on them during the dust storm
- Rinse your outdoor unit with water from a garden hose once you are done vacuuming the evaporator fins to get rid of any dust and debris that might still be sitting on it
- Change or clean your air filter as despite you sealing your home and switching off your AC unit, some dust might still have reached your air filters
- Clean your ductwork openings to get rid of any dust trapped there and tighten them up as they might have been blown loose by the wind
- Wait until the power supply is stable for at least 10 minutes before turning on your HVAC unit after the storm to prevent any damage in case power supply irregularities are still ongoing
Welcome to Sun City Mechanical
West Valley is a great place to call home as it’s full of amazing people. No matter the air conditioning, heating, or plumbing problem you are experiencing, you can count on us to provide excellent services across all the 14 cities in West Valley. In the 18 years that we have been operating, we have served our clients across this region diligently, driven by honesty. This is because, at Sun City Mechanical, we believe that honesty is priceless beyond just offering great services to our clients.
We also have fantastic discount and financing offers specially tailored for you. You can save up to $1,200 on your home comfort system purchase and installation by going with our Lennox Complete System. This offer encompasses an air conditioner or heat pump, gas furnace or blower coil, and the thermostat under our Lennox Rebate and Financing Promotion. At Sun City Mechanical, we also offer up to $150 combined rebates discounts on air purification, zoning, and smart thermostat services. Visit our website and call us for all West Valley AC, heating, and plumbing inquiries and assistance.