California has endured years of drought, but the past few months have brought one rainstorm after another. Repeated deluges have ended water restrictions for many in Southern California. But the atmospheric rivers that keep pummeling the state can do a number on home HVAC and plumbing systems. We’ll look at a few ways to protect your home from the effects of so much rain.
Water can cause serious damage to your HVAC system. Air conditioners are designed to drain condensation, but their components are extremely sensitive to water exposure. The wind is also a problem as it can blow debris onto and into the condenser unit. Fortunately, there are easy ways to protect the system:
If you haven’t covered the AC unit with plywood for winter, place a plywood sheet over the top. It is effective at shielding the unit from snow and ice. If your area doesn’t see much snow, you can cover the unit with a tarp to shield it from rain and strong winds. Strap the tarp on so it doesn’t blow away. Fitting a metal or plywood cage around the air conditioner is also an option. It protects against flying debris.
Before a storm, trim trees, branches, and shrubs so they can’t fall on the AC unit. You can also plant shrubs nearby to block the wind. Exposed wires should be covered to prevent water exposure and damage from falling objects. The unit should also be anchored to a concrete pad next to a concrete or stone wall, and any loose objects nearby (toys, firewood, outdoor furniture, etc.) should be moved inside.
Thick metal mesh hail guards should be installed before a storm hits. They don’t interfere with the unit’s heating or cooling abilities. And you avoid the unit being riddled with dents, bent fins, or damage to the coils that can prevent it from keeping your home comfortable.
Ironically, your plumbing system, which is designed to carry water, can be heavily damaged by it. Rainstorms pose an especially high risk for drains, as sediment and debris can easily clog them. Underground plumbing is also susceptible to damage by heavy wet soil and standing water. Here are some steps you can take to protect your plumbing:
Excessive rainwater can flood your driveway, yard, or deck and even compromise your home’s foundation. Install drains at low points on your property. And check them often for debris to clear away. Use a wet-dry vacuum to pull out debris if necessary, or install a drain guard to prevent dirt, leaves, rocks, and other items from causing blockages. Also, make sure gutters and downspouts are clear and properly installed.
If your toilet starts gurgling during heavy rain, a drain is likely clogged or backing up. Your toilet may back up if rainwater has gotten into a septic tank. Clogged drains can affect municipal sewer lines as well. When this happens, dirty water can accumulate in drains and cause pipes to crack or burst. If your water looks dirty, tastes coppery, or smells like mildew or something worse, call a plumber right away.
Sump pumps remove water from basements or the lowest part of your home. If you have a sump pump, it should turn on automatically when water reaches a certain level. At least once a year, pour some water into the sump pump basin to make sure it’s working. If it doesn’t turn on, call a plumber to inspect and repair it before the rain arrives. It will save you from a messy cleanup later on.
Whether you need AC repair or a plumber in an emergency, you can count on NexGen for prompt, effective solutions. Recent storms in California have affected many homeowners. Be on the alert for air conditioning or plumbing issues and reach out to us as soon as anything seems awry. We’ll provide repairs, drain cleaning, and inspections and address any mold or indoor air quality issues caused by recent rains. To get started, book your appointment online or call (833) 729-9735.