Air Conditioning Installation: Hurricane And Tornado Requirements

Florida and a couple of neighboring states in the Gulf are known as "hurricane alley." A band of states through the central part of the country are known as "tornado alley." These areas of the country are hardest hit by these powerful wind storms. If you are living in any of these states, there are actually special requirements that go along with your new air conditioning installation. Since they are very similar for both hurricane alley and tornado alley, you can apply the following to your own installation situation.

All Units Must Be Secured to a Concrete Platform

For obvious reasons, A/C units in these wind storm states have to be secured to a concrete slab. The slab itself is secured firmly to the ground so that not even the most powerful winds can pick up the A/C unit and the slab and chuck them through a house. That said, your HVAC technician will need to first clear a spot of land, level it, add steel rods to the ground, and then pour a slab of concrete on that spot.

Some States Require Additional Protection

Some of these states require additional protection in the form of tie-down straps. The straps have to criss-cross your A/C unit, and then be secured to the concrete slab or bolted down. Florida is one of these states, and you may be fined if your unit is not installed according to state and local requirements. If you are not sure if your state has some very specific rules for air conditioner installation, be sure to ask your HVAC technician.

Seasonal Protection

Seasonal protection may apply to where you live. In this case, you may only have to secure your unit during tornado or hurricane season. Given enough advanced warning, you should secure your unit as required or recommended. Additionally, many states in tornado alley, including Kansas and Missouri, experience snowfall in winter. A covering or tarp that can be secured to the concrete block is recommended for the winter months to prevent seasonal damage to your A/C unit during colder months.

Check Your Unit after a Storm

As with any powerful storm, be sure to check your A/C unit after the storm has passed. If anything seems out of the ordinary (e.g., a strap or bolt is loose, a tree limb fell on your unit, etc.) call a technician right away. Do not run your new (but newly damaged) unit until you know it is safe to do so. Also, avoid operating our A/C during a tornado or hurricane.

Contact a service company, like One Hour Air Conditioning and Heating, for more help.