Air Care warns of storm damage to air-conditioning systems

From the Royal Gazette:

A facilities management and air conditioning company has been inundated with calls from businesses and homes with damaged air-conditioning units because power was not switched off before Hurricane Gonzalo.

Air Care said that switching off A/C systems before electricity goes down in a storm can prevent problems afterwards.

Corrosive sea salt and general debris, such as leaves, whipped up by the storm, may also have damaged A/C systems, the firm warned.

Craig Stevenson, Air Care’s manager, business development and sales, said: “When people talk of damage they do it in general terms, but we are seeing a significant amount of homes and offices where the air conditioning systems has been ravaged.

“It is good practice to isolate air conditioning systems from their electrical source to avoid voltage fluctuations before power is lost, especially when facing a hurricane.

“We realise that it is tempting to sit in cool air for as long as possible before a storm, especially when you do not know how long you will be without power.

“But people need to realise systems can be returned to operation much quicker when they are isolated from their power source, and often without costly repairs that are needed when they are subject to electrical damage.”

Immediately after the hurricane, Air Care staff were called out to evaluate damaged systems around the Island and Mr Stevenson added: “At midnight on Sunday I found myself in our office helping a team of technicians load a portable cooling system onto a truck for delivery.

“A commercial data centre had incurred a system outage as it was operational during the storm. Those repairs are continuing.”

Alison Soares, Air Care’s facilities consultant, added that it was now important to make sure all outside condenser units were professionally serviced and cleaned to avoid future problems.

She added: “They were probably caked in seawater which is corrosive, leaves and branches after the storm. Almost all modern systems utilise variable refrigerant volume and inverter technology, which use advanced electrical circuitry.

“They are sensitive pieces of electronic equipment and need maintaining, or repairs are likely.”

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