Because spring is the season for storms and related power outages, it’s also the time of year to think about protecting HVAC equipment from the potential effects of these events. Today’s heating and cooling systems incorporate expensive components that are sensitive to electrical phenomenon such as power outages and surges. Unfortunately, statistics show that damaging electrical incidents are more prevalent than ever on the nation’s aging power grid. The potential threats are generally divided into three types:
- Lightning strikes affecting nearby power lines that send very high voltage into household circuits.
- Damaging widespread power surges that often occur on the grid when electricity is restored after an outage or brownout.
- Voltage irregularities originating within the house due to a short circuit, overload or other issue.
HVAC components that may be permanently damaged by voltage irregularities include the AC compressor, the cooling and heating system control boards, internal sensors, blower fans and thermostats. Fully protecting HVAC equipment requires safeguards to prevent damage originating from both external and internal sources.
Whole-House Surge Protection
Installed at your main electrical panel, a whole-house surge protector senses all electricity entering the house from the power grid. If dangerously high voltage occurs due to an external event such as a nearby lightning strike or a surge on the power grid, the whole-house unit will protect all electrical components on household circuits — including HVAC components — from this damaging event.
Central AC Surge Protectors
Some damaging voltage surges may originate internally — inside the house — instead of externally on the power grid. Therefore, protection at the main electrical panel isn’t sufficient to completely safeguard all electrical components.
Because of the substantial potential losses if the central air conditioner is damaged, surge protectors specifically designed for central AC are available to add an extra layer of defense. Typically, this surge protector is installed at the electrical disconnect switch that serves the outdoor unit of the AC, to protect the system compressor and other costly components.
For more information about options for protecting HVAC equipment from electrical surges due to storms and other similar events, contact Aggressive Mechanical.