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Storm pic

Storm Weather Home Safety Tips

The peak of hurricane season is upon us and with that can come some severe storm weather in New England. In this month’s Main Stream Mechanical news, our team shares important storm weather home safety tips.

Preventing HVAC Damage During Storms

While your family is safe inside during storms, your HVAC unit may not be. By taking the following precautions, you can minimize potential storm damage:

  1. If a storm is predicted for your area, it’s a good idea to avoid using your HVAC system. Power surges have the potential to cause damage to the electronics. Shut off your system at the thermostat first, then at the circuit breaker.
  2. Clear your yard of loose objects, including bikes, toys, gardening tools, outdoor furniture, etc. These items can get picked up by strong winds and cause substantial damage to your outdoor unit.
  3. Protect your outdoor unit by putting a cover or tarp over it during a storm.  Note that the system must remain off while covered and the cover needs to be removed before you turn the system back on.  The cover or tarp should not cover the unit completely because you could get a buildup of moisture inside the unit and it may also attract small animals seeking shelter.  Leaving several inches of space around the bottom of your unit will allow the unit to breathe.
  4. Basement flooding is another cause for concern. Protect your HVAC equipment by installing a sump pump that will detect water and turn on automatically to remove it. Keeping your basement dry will also prevent mold. Contact Main Stream Mechanical for assistance with sump pump installation.
  5. After the storm has passed, make sure there are no visible signs of damage and clean debris or tree limbs away from the unit. If you detect any loose or disconnected wires, do NOT touch them, as this can be dangerous. If you have any concerns about the condition and operating safety of your outdoor HVAC unit, contact the Main Stream Mechanical team and we’ll come out and inspect it for you.

As soon as powered is restored, turn on your HVAC unit to test for proper operation.

Home Generator Safety Tips During Storms

When electricity is lost during storm power outages, many homeowners use portable backup generators. However, exhaust from backup generators contains high levels of carbon monoxide (CO) gas, which can be fatal. In addition, back up generators pose both electric shock and fire risks. To ensure your family’s safety, follow these safety tips when using your power generator:

Preventing Carbon Monoxide Poisoning When Operating Your Generator

  1. As with all major equipment, carefully read your operator’s manual before using your power generator.
  2. NEVER locate a generator inside your home or garage.
  3. Operate your generator outside, away from windows, doors, and vents.
  4. Because you cannot see, smell, or taste CO gas, be sure to install carbon monoxide detectors or alarms throughout your home.
  5. Know the signs of carbon monoxide poisoning:
    *Dull headache
    *Nausea or vomiting
    *Shortness of breath
    *Blurred vision
    *Loss of consciousness

Avoiding Electrical Shock and Fire When Operating Your Generator

To safely operate your generator and avoid electrical shock, read your operator’s manual and follow these safety tips:

Keep things dry--Avoid operating your generator during rainy or wet conditions and never touch your generator with wet hands. Your generator should be covered by an open structure and kept on a dry surface, where water cannot reach it.

Make sure you use the correct fuel (noted in your operator’s manual) for your generator.

When it’s time to add more fuel, let your generator cool down. Fuel spilled on a hot unit can ignite.

When plugging appliances into your generator, be sure to use a heavy duty, outdoor-rated extension cord rated for the correct watts or amps.

Ensure the extension cord is not crushed or pinched in any way.

NEVER plug your generator directly into a home outlet. If you wish to hook-up your generator to your home electrical system, contact the Main Stream Mechanical team and we can install a power transfer switch for you.

HVAC and Power Generator Installation and Service in Massachusetts and Southern New Hampshire

The professionals at Main Stream Mechanical install and service HVAC systems and power generators throughout MA and NH. Check out our coverage area for a full listing of towns and cities we serve.

We travel throughout the Greater Newburyport, Boxford, Topsfield, Bedford, Lexington and Arlington areas in MA and the Greater Derry, Seabrook, Stratham, Dover, Exeter and Rye areas in NH. See our full-service area list for towns not noted. For emergency service or a no-obligation consultation, call us at (978) 834-0849 or send us a message through our contact form.

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