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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Posts
    1,035

    Confused

    Split System Outdoor condensing units and hurricanes?

    Until last year I never bothered to do much but mow around the outdoor condensing unit of my split system condenser...now the hurricanes got me thinking again (dangerous for us students)...has anyone seen what happens to the outside condenser (home or roof top) units after a hurricane hits an area? I live near the east coast of Florida and mine did not move in last years storms, but only because we did not get a direct hit last year. I noticed that mine sits on a plastic "slab" and is not bolted down or connected to the plastic slab or house in any way (just a 3'x3' 2ish inch thick piece of plastic they put the unit on)...and the only thing that would keep it from moving or being blown away is the wiring and tubing?

    SO the big ???
    has anyone seen if condenser units get blown around or damaged in a hurricane?

    Has anyone thought of a way to protect the condenser in a hurricane?

    Do roof top units do ok or do they get ripped off the roof?
    73% of Americans say that illegal immigration is a problem. The other 27% say, "No habla inglis!"

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2002
    Posts
    11,808
    1-Yes- seen big chillers blown over
    2-Yes- ready for the next big one
    3-Yes- if they stay in place, most likely the majority of panel screws are missing and no doors left.

    Also seen them submerged in sea water, crushed from impacts
    The way we build has a greater impact on our comfort, energy consumption and IAQ than any HVAC system we install.

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  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Posts
    3,157
    Doglips:
    condensors that just sitting on a pad will remain there untill the time that the copper tubing has finally broken from being tossed around with the unit, then there is a good chance it will be within a 5 mile radius of your former house


    roof top units will stay in place untill the rest of the building breaks apart then they will launch also....or fall in and get buried with the rest of the debris

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    Location
    Bartlett, IL
    Posts
    6,619
    Well, if hurricanes can rip huge trees outta the ground and toss ships to shore I don't think a condenser, (especially a rooftop unit) has a chance...just my opinion.

    Whether bolted down to a pad or not, I'd suspect it would just take the pad along for the ride.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    burlington county n.j.
    Posts
    9,743
    had a 5 ton unit 1 month old rolled over by a microburst in a nasty storm. that is what homeowners insurance is for.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2000
    Location
    Guayaquil EC
    Posts
    10,364
    From what I saw here last year after Hurricanes Frances and Jeanne came through at CAT 2 & 3 strength, the vast majority of smaller residential units on the leeward or protected side of structures did OK. Those on the eastern side with exposure to open areas got blown over or moved to the side whether tied down or not.

    I saw rooftop unit that blew off their curbs if they weren't bolted down. I saw units that were bolted down take the curb with them to the ground. I saw units that stayed put and get destroyed by flying debris like roofing tile shards that penetrated clear through condenser coils and side panels. I saw built-up flat roofs that rolled up from the wind and took out anything in its path.

    If you're facing a CAT 5 hurricane (or even a CAT 4), you really should worry a heck of a lot of how well your equipment is secured. It'll probably be gone when the storm is over anyway.

  7. #7
    I would like to know WHO the EPA is going to go after for all the refrigerant release?

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2003
    Location
    Florida's space coast
    Posts
    2,538
    I'm in the Melbourne/Palm Bay area and do a lot of work on the beaches as well.

    The company that I work for as well as most others around here have made some needed changes.

    No more plastic pads.

    Steel hurricane straps on all outside units.

    Rooftop package units strapped to curbs.

    All rooftop condensers are set on hurricane stands.

    If you have a plastic pad you can screw through the units base pan into the pad. That will at least provide a minimum of protection and keep it from sliding around on the pad.

    As Icemeister said, if its cat 4 or better it wont really matter.

    We've been doing so much,for so long,with so little, that now we can do almost anything, with nothing at all.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Apr 2002
    Posts
    11,808
    Carnak Cat 5 tie down, 3/4 in sch 80 pipe through the rails.

    Throw on the shipping straps when a big one comes, so that you have more than the rails left after the storm. Make sure all the panel screws are there.

    Coil guards are nice but techs *****, can't win

    The way we build has a greater impact on our comfort, energy consumption and IAQ than any HVAC system we install.

    http://www.ductstrap.com/

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Apr 2002
    Posts
    11,808
    Easy way is to have big pads with bolts cast in place.

    The above photo was an after thought.
    The way we build has a greater impact on our comfort, energy consumption and IAQ than any HVAC system we install.

    http://www.ductstrap.com/

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    Location
    Connecticut
    Posts
    1,666

  12. #12
    Join Date
    May 2002
    Location
    Baton Rouge, Louisiana
    Posts
    3,896
    Our New Orleans branch has at least one job where every condenser was blown off the roof, they were all in a pile in the parking lot.

    Also we have one customer locally that had a year and a half old Carrier Aquasnap chiller, but unfortunately a tree took it out.
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    very soon it is you that will be pwned

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jun 2003
    Location
    Hell Hole Swamp
    Posts
    4,180
    Ive seen several strange things happen to condensers during hurricanes, one was an old goodman on the roof of a condo, blew over, we found it upside down on the roof still running, another was one of those small straight ac Trane units, it got blown off the stand it was sitting on and landed on the ground upright, enough slack in the lines that they didnt get messed up too bad in the fall, this on still worked also.

    After Hurricane Floyd we had lots of flooding in my area along the waccamaw river, after the water receded I had lots of units to check out that had been submerged, I was suprised to find that most of them still worked as long as the power was off until they dried out completely, a few of them only needed the fan motor changed.

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