Hansberger Refrigeration Blog: Your AC Repair Resource

What Can Storms and Power Loss Do to Your HVAC Unit?

Protecting HVAC equipment is particularly important as spring and summer thunderstorms increase the threat of electrical surges caused by lightning strikes on the power grid. These voltage spikes can permanently damage sensitive electronics in houses connected to the grid, including heating and cooling technology like system control boards, sensors, thermostats, and the most costly component in the system: the air conditioner compressor.

The Insurance Information Institute reports that the cost to replace home electronic components affected by a severe voltage surge due to any cause averages around $3,500. Some other common causes of these damaging spikes include:

  • Transient surges that frequently occur when a local utility restores electricity after an outage on the power grid.
  • Internal sources within the home, such as a direct lighting strike on the house structure, an indoor short circuit, or an overload.

It’s important to note that a basic homeowner’s insurance policy may not provide compensation for electrical devices ruined by voltage surges. Often, an addition to the basic policy is required for coverage. What’s more, local utilities typically cannot be held legally liable for damage. That’s why surge protectors are vital to safeguard sensitive electronics inside your home — including protecting HVAC equipment — from the random threat of voltage surges. Here’s how surge protection works to prevent costly losses:

  • Whole-house surge protectors are installed by an electrician at the home’s main electrical panel. These units protect devices connected to the house circuits — including HVAC units — by detecting and blocking damaging voltage before it enters home wiring. Whole-house suppressors provide worthwhile protection against voltage spikes originating externally on the power grid.
  • Central air conditioner suppressors offer an additional level of safety by protecting the AC unit against electrical surges resulting from indoor sources such as shorts, overloads, or direct lightning strikes. These dedicated units are usually installed at the switch controlling power to the outdoor unit of the central AC, which includes sensitive and costly components, including the compressor.

For more info about effectively protecting HVAC equipment from damaging voltage surges, contact Hansberger Refrigeration and Electric Company.