How to Get Your HVAC Ready for an Earthquake

Compared to other places in the country, living in northern California is amazing. We have great, temperate weather, gorgeous natural scenery, and some of the best food in the country. However, we live under the constant threat of earthquakes. Most people get their belongings ready for a quake, but what about your appliances? Here are the best ways to get your HVAC ready for an earthquake.

How an Earthquake Can Damage Your HVAC System

Earthquakes are known to do lots of damage. From your foundation to the roof, all can be affected by a quake. This also includes your HVAC system.
When the ground is shaking, there are two major ways your HVAC system can be damaged. They are:
  • Movement – No matter how big or how small the quake, there is always some movement. And with that movement, some damage. Even smaller quakes can knock a condenser from its concrete foundation. This theory also applies to your furnace. Movement and shaking can damage your HVAC system’s fan, motor, coils, and any wiring.
  • Exterior Damage – When there’s movement, things get knocked over. This can include tree branches, storage boxes, and anything else close to your condenser and furnace. Falling objects can cause extensive exterior damage to your HVAC system.

What to Look for After an Earthquake in Santa Rosa

After checking on your family and pets, it’s time to check on the house. Here are the things you should look for when going over your HVAC system. Begin with a quick visual inspection of the exterior. Look for any new scrapes or dents. These are a sign something fell on your system and there may be internal damage as well. The next step is to look at any external lines. You’re hunting for any obvious cracks or breaks. Keep in mind, you need to call an HVAC professional ASAP if you notice any leaks coming from your condenser or furnace lines. And you can round out this inspection with ductwork. These flexible metal tubes carry air to and from your furnace. They run throughout your home. Ducts are more fragile than they seem. Over time they can develop cracks and holes, but an earthquake can exacerbate any weaknesses that were already there.

Be Mindful of Potential Gas Leaks

One of the most important things to be on the look for after an earthquake are gas leaks. Even a small break in your gas line means it’s time to cut off all gas immediately. Gas lines are generally brittle and not flexible, making them prone to breaking during an earthquake. When a gas line is cracked or broken, you run the risk of your home slowly filling with carbon monoxide. If left for too long and inhaled too much, this could lead to carbon monoxide poisoning.
Carbon monoxide can’t be seen or smelled. It also has no taste. This is the biggest reason why a gas leak can be so dangerous. Make sure the batteries in your carbon monoxide detector are always working.

An Ounce of Prevention is Better Than a Pound of Cure

The scary thing about earthquakes is that they can happen at any moment. This is why earthquake preparedness is so important. Some of our preferred ways to earthquake proof your HVAC are:
  • Vibration Isolators – Vibration isolators are springs that are installed under the condenser and sometimes around the fan. These springs help absorb some of the shock that comes with an earthquake.
  • Restraint Brackets – These brackets are installed on the corners of your condenser and furnace. They work with the vibration isolators to help absorb shock and take pressure of your system during an earthquake.
  • Flex-Line Piping – We mentioned above that an HVAC system’s external lines are not flexible. A way to help them move with the earth is flex-line piping. This is a small, flexible part of a line that’s inserted into your primary gas and refrigerant lines. The flexibility helps reinforce them against any earthquake damage.

Protect Your Home, Protect Yourself

Far too many home insurance policies do not cover earthquakes. Though they usually cover fire or storm damage, many don’t cover any part of an earthquake. Take a second to review your current homeowners’ policy and see if earthquake coverage is included. The California Department of Insurance sells policies for those who can’t get coverage through their primary insurance company. When choosing an earthquake policy, it’s important to look for these 3 things:
  1. Dwelling Coverage – This ensures your home itself—and things like appliances—have coverage if they are damaged in a quake.
  2. Personal Property Coverage – This covers anything person that’s not actually attached to the house. It could be décor, collections, or anything that falls under the umbrella of personal property.
  3. Additional Living Expenses – Earthquakes can cause damage that’s so bad you’ll need a construction crew to fix it. For these cases, additional living expense coverage can make sure your hotel, or other accommodation, is paid for.
Need someone to come get your HVAC ready for an earthquake? The experts at Moore Home Services are here to help.