Portland rain is daunting, and you may wonder if running your HVAC system is safe when it’s pouring. Fortunately, manufacturers design HVAC units to withstand harsh weather conditions such as heavy rain, wind, sleet, and snow. The outdoor portion of your HVAC unit is thoroughly sealed using corrosion-proof materials and bolted down securely to protect its electrical components from damage.
Nevertheless, Portland homeowners face a few weather-related complications when keeping their HVAC systems in top form. For instance, our rainstorms cause floods. Units that sit in standing water for too long are vulnerable to electrical damage. Strong winds often accompany Portland rain, which means flying debris can take a toll on your HVAC system’s outdoor unit.
So, to help you avoid damage to your HVAC system during a Portland rainstorm, we’re sharing some expert tips:
- How to protect your outdoor unit from flooding and water damage
- Consequences of storm debris blocking your outdoor unit
- Why routine HVAC maintenance will help you avoid problems
Want expert advice from trusted HVAC professionals?
Thanks to the region's trademark rain, Portland homeowners contend with various issues— but HVAC issues don’t have to be one of them.
Call Four Seasons today at 503-538-1950 for more information on keeping your HVAC system in top condition no matter what mischief the weather blows your way. Or use our convenient online form to schedule service.
How to Protect Your Outdoor Unit from Flooding and Water Damage
When it comes to environments that receive a great deal of rain, one of the most important HVAC “best practices” is to ensure that the unit does not sit in standing water.
Ideally, your unit should be on an elevated concrete block on the side of your home, reducing the likelihood of receiving water runoff. Add a sump pump in your basement to guard against flooding.
Cover Your HVAC Unit With Caution
Although it might be tempting always to cover your HVAC unit to help protect it from the weather, we do not advise this.
Covering the unit with a covering that does not allow for proper ventilation can lead to condensation that can corrode metal components. If you do decide to cover your HVAC unit to keep fallen leaves and other debris out of it, cover only the top of the unit with a PVC-coated mesh screen. Also, only cover the outdoor unit before a rainstorm, or you may experience your AC blowing hot air.
Install Leaf Guards on Your Gutters
Fallen leaves that make their way to the inside of HVAC units provide places for water to pool, causing corrosion within the unit.
Keep your gutters clean and clear to minimize the risk of them overflowing and dumping fallen leaves and twigs on top of the unit. If the downspouts on your gutters are causing water to pool near the HVAC unit, install downspout extenders to ensure that the water flows far away enough to pose little risk to the un
Keep the Area Tidy
Outdoor HVAC units are usually located in a low-traffic part of the home exterior, making them easy to overlook when it comes to yard and garden maintenance.
Make sure to mow your lawn and trim any shrubbery to reduce the risk of leaves and branches breaking off and blowing directly into the unit during a windstorm. Cut your grass and eliminate weeds to reduce the risk of pollen entering your home via the outdoor unit and affecting those with seasonal allergies.
As a bonus, maintaining a clean and tidy area helps to discourage insect and rodent pests from establishing homes near your HVAC unit.
It’s also a good idea to remove any trash receptacles, woodpiles, or outdoor furniture from the area that could be picked up by a strong wind and thrown onto your HVAC unit.
Consequences of Storm Debris Blocking Your Outdoor Unit
Storm debris can damage your outdoor HVAC unit and require repairs and replacements.
Fallen leaves, grass clippings, and twigs can form a layer that blocks airflow from the unit, causing condensation and corrosion. Blocked airflow also means your system will have to work harder to do the same job, resulting in unnecessarily worn-out parts and higher utility costs.
As mentioned above, vegetative debris encourages rodents, insects, and certain types of birds to nest in, on, or around your outdoor unit. Rodents, in particular, can damage your HVAC system by chewing on wires and producing waste inside the unit. Also, insects repopulating inside your system can accumulate to the point where they can interfere with airflow. Because Portland homes have a lot of green spaces that attract wildlife of all varieties, keep your outdoor HVAC unit clean to discourage pests.
Why Routine HVAC Maintenance Will Help You Avoid Problems
Routine maintenance is when an HVAC technician identifies and addresses issues with your unit before they become fully-fledged headaches and money drains. Or before the unit breaks down and leaves you without protection on a sweltering or freezing day.
So, to avoid further problems during a rainstorm, we recommend scheduling HVAC maintenance before a cold or hot season (after all, thunderstorms can happen in summer and winter here in Portland).
During the service, your technician will inspect your equipment, lubricate key parts, check for worn or damaged components, and let you know if your air filters need changing. They can also inspect the area for environmental issues that could affect your HVAC system’s performance. For example, the team might recommend weeding the area around the unit or changing a downspout from depositing runoff water too close to the unit. We’ll ensure that your system is in good operating condition for rainstorms.
Want Honest Advice from HVAC Pros? Trust Four Seasons.
Our NATE-certified technicians have been serving Portland and surrounding areas since 1979, so we’ve seen all kinds of issues that Northwest weather can bring. From maintenance to repairs and system replacements, we can provide you with any HVAC service required. Rest assured, we’ll safeguard and prime your home and HVAC system for maximum comfort, no matter the season.
Call us at 503-538-1950 or click below to schedule through our website and see why we’ve been awarded hundreds of 5-star ratings!