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Protect Your AC Unit From Lightning This Storm Season!

Unless you're brand new to the Kansas City area, you probably already know that we can have some pretty spectacular thunderstorms, especially during the summer months. While Kansas is famous for our tornadoes, we also contend with damaging winds, hail, heavy rain, and, of course, lightning.

Chances are you've already got surge protectors in your home to help protect your TVs and computers from power surges in the event of nearby lightning strikes, but unless you've had it happen to you already, you may not be thinking about protecting your home's AC unit from lightning. At Davenport Services, we've been providing HVAC services in Olathe for years, and we've seen our share of AC units taken out by power surges due to nearby lightning strikes. Here's some advice on how to protect your AC unit, and what to do if it's been damaged:

  • Turn the AC unit off in the event of a thunderstorm. Air conditioners are only susceptible to power surges when they're running, so shutting the AC off at the thermostat can protect it in the event of a surge.
  • Have a technician check your system if you suspect that it's been damaged by a power surge. A good way to tell is if anything else in your house was damaged. If your TV or Blu-ray player is fried, then chances are there may have been damage to your AC as well. If you're unsure, have a tech check it out. A surge can damage your AC's capacitor—which is easy and relatively inexpensive to fix—and you may not notice it for weeks or months until that has caused damage to the compressor, which is a lot more expensive.
  • Document the event. Many insurance companies will pay for AC units if it can be proven that the damage was from a power surge. While definitely proving a power surge can be tricky and may require the hermetically-sealed casing to be cut open, insurance companies will pay out with adequate proof of a surge, which means that documentation is going to be your best friend when filing a claim.

Of course, there's not much you can do about a direct lightning strike to your unit, but those are pretty rare. Capacitors and compressors that are damaged by power surges are much more common, and they can often be avoided by switching off your AC during storms, and keeping an eye out once storms have passed. Again, if you suspect that your AC may have been damaged by a power surge, it's best to have a certified HVAC professional take a look at it right away. It's a lot better—and a lot cheaper—to catch damage early on.

Founded in 1980, Davenport Service Company has provided "Customer First" service in Johnson County, Kansas for over three decades. We provide 24/7 emergency service, preventive maintenance service, and seasonal tune-ups for commercial and residential heating and air conditioning systems. If you're looking for professional HVAC services in Olathe, call 913-441-2222 for hassle-free scheduling today!

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