Monday, August 18, 2008

Weather Safety for Appliances & Air Conditioning Equipment

When I awoke today and turned on my computer to, I found out that my home state of Florida is under a hurricane watch. So I began to prepare for the worst. I put up my shutters, stocked up on food, water, and gas for my generator. I am now prepared to weather the storm. In a couple of days the sun will shine again.

How to prepare your appliances and air conditioning equipment in the event of a hurricane.
Before bad weather arrives in your neighborhood, lower the temperature settings (colder) on the refrigerator, freezer, and air conditioning equipment. You can use your appliances and air conditioners normally until the electric starts to flicker or go out completely. When this occurs, turn off the refrigerator, freezer, and air conditioner controls. Also, make sure that the controls on the other appliances are turned to the off position. This will prevent the equipment from trying to restart. If the electrical voltage drops below 10% of the amount needed to run the equipment, it might cause damage to your appliances and air conditioning equipment.

Refrigerators and Freezers
Fill empty plastic soda bottles to 3/4 full of water and freeze them. This will help keep your food cold when the electricity goes out. Also, let your ice maker run and fill plastic bags of ice cubes to keep food cold. You might want to consider installing a surge protector or time delay to protect the compressor from short cycling. These parts are available at your local parts supply house. When the electricity goes off, turn the ice maker to the off position, try not to go into the refrigerator/freezer to often, with the doors closed, the temperature will remain constant.

Air Conditioning Equipment
You might want to consider installing a time delay to protect the compressor from restarting before the sealed system has a chance to equalize. This part is available at your local parts supply house. On room air conditioners, check around the outside of the case and the bottom of the unit to make sure that all openings are sealed, and the air conditioner unit is installed properly according to the manufacturer's specifications. Also, close the fresh air vent to prevent driving rains from entering the inside of the air conditioner and the home.

Washer and Dryers
Before a storm arrives, clean your clothes. I remember from the last storm, we began to run out of clean clothing. The electricity was off for three weeks. You do not have to turn off the water supply. Make sure that you have clean and dry clothing for up to three weeks.

Water Heaters
On electric water heaters, make sure that the clock timer is set to the on position. The clock timer is an add on device used to allow the water heater to cycle on at certain times that the consumer presets. When the electricity goes out at least you have one more hot shower. No need to turn off the water supply to the tank. On gas water heaters, run them normally.
If you do not have water pressure to the home, shut off the inlet valve to the water heater tank and turn off the electric or gas supply. This action allows you to have an extra supply of water if needed after the storm passes. The water heater tank can be drained as needed for survival purpose. If you use the water from the tank for drinking purposes, boil it first.

Make sure to run and clean the dishes before the storm makes landfall and electricity goes out. You do not have to turn off the water supply to the dishwasher. Also, make sure to have disposable plates, bowls, and flatware. If you run out of the disposables, then use your dishes and silverware.

Garbage Disposer
Run the disposer to remove the debris from the drain and pipes. This will prevent funny smells from coming up the drain when the electricity goes out. Make sure that the switch is in the off position when the electricity goes off.

Microwave Ovens & Ranges
Make sure that all controls are in the off position when the electricity goes out. You might want to consider preparing some cooked meals in case you lose power during the storm. After the storm passes by, it will be easier to reheat the food on the grill.

Operating Appliances and Room Air Conditioners on a Generator
There are times when we have to seek alternate sources of electricity to run appliances and room air conditioners. Many people are installing, have installed, or about to purchase an auxiliary power generator as an alternative. When purchased or purchasing a generator, you will have to take into account what appliances you intend to run off of it.
When you consider running lights, appliances, and room air conditioners on a generator, you must calculate how much wattage is needed for each product, including the start-up wattage. In addition, the voltage (120 or 240) and cycles (60) are critical for proper operation of appliances and air conditioners. If the voltage is less than 10 percent of the operating voltage, refrigerators, freezers, and room air conditioners will not operate properly, which might cause damage to the components in the product. Any variations in the cycles could speed up the clocks, or slow them down. It is also important when searching for a generator that it has the ability to regulate the voltage and has surge protection for use with appliances and room air conditioners. Check with the generator manufacturer for warranty, operation, installation, and sizing of generator before purchasing.
Never use a gas powered generator in the home during a hurricane. Wait until the storm has passed by, then place the generator outside the home, away from the building for safe operation. Read the use and care guide that comes with your generator before turning it on.

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