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How to Protect Your AC from a Haboob

Dust storms are not uncommon in the Phoenix area. Also known as a haboob, a dust storm can carry massive amounts of dust, dirt, and debris through the air for many miles. It can also seriously damage your air conditioner if you don’t protect it. Otherwise, dust, dirt, and even mud can clog the filters, block condenser coils, and even find their way into your home. 

But you can protect your AC during a haboob. Here are some tips to follow beforehand and when you see a massive dust cloud rolling in:

Prepare Your Home

Sealing your home can help prevent dust from getting inside. If there are gaps or openings near windows and doors, install caulking or other materials that can seal them. Spackle over cracks in exterior walls and install or improve insulation. It also helps to know what measures you’ll take to protect your air conditioner when the dust starts flying.

Turn Off Your Air Conditioner

Shutting down the AC in 100℉+ summer temperatures is probably the last thing you would think of. But turning it off even for just a few minutes can prevent dust from being sucked into the system and your home. You can also avoid damage to the compressor if the power goes out, which often occurs during high winds and heavy storms. Once the power is back, wait at least five to ten minutes to turn your AC back on.

*Also consider installing a surge protector that ensures the system is grounded, whether there’s a surge from a power line or a lightning strike.

Cover the Outdoor Unit

Construct a shelter around the system that can withstand high winds during a haboob. Don’t wrap the unit in a tarp or plastic; this will inhibit air circulation. Any shelter for your AC system should provide two to three feet of space on all sides and three to five feet on top of the unit

Clean Your AC After the Dust Passes

Any dust and debris left behind or inside your AC can affect its performance. Without maintenance, blocked condenser coils can freeze and clogged filters can strain the system. Clear any dust, branches, or debris from on and around the unit and inspect the filters and coils. Clean all components as needed and replace the filter if necessary. Also, look for clogs in the drainage system; they can be cleared with a wet/dry vacuum. 

Other considerations include:

  • Preventative Maintenance: You should take care of the unit before and after a storm. Protecting it from moisture is as important as protecting it from dust, as moisture can damage the fan motor.
  • Professional Dust Removal: Dust not only clogs AC components but can cause them to overheat and fail. It may be best to call a service company to ensure the unit is fully cleaned once you start using it again.

Contact Hays Heating, Cooling & Plumbing

As experienced HVAC professionals, we know how important it is to keep an air conditioner in top shape in Arizona. Since 2001, we’ve been providing high-quality maintenance services. When a haboob rolls into town, we spring to action and help our customers get their ACs running again with as little trouble as possible. Our AC maintenance program includes a 33-point inspection so our technicians can make any necessary adjustments and repairs. Call 602-806-1291 to schedule service.

About the Author

Chris Hays

Founder of Hays Cooling, Heating & Plumbing

Chris and Stacia Hays, are the founders of Hays Cooling, Heating & Plumbing; a family operated HVAC company in Phoenix founded in 2001 that services both commercial and residential customers. Chris leads a team of certified technicians who have over 45 years of combined experience and has earned and A+ rating with the BBB and a strong five star rating online. Hays Cooling, Heating & Plumbing focuses on providing support to their customers every step of the way, with exceptional service and competitive prices. If you are looking for top-notch air conditioning and heating service, contact Hays today.