When it comes to natural disasters, for Los Angeles residents, earthquakes are among the most feared. As a residential or commercial property owner, you should be aware of how vulnerable your HVAC system can be during an earthquake and take the proper steps to secure your system. Knowing how to earthquake-proof your HVAC system is essential to prevent costly repairs and dangerous situations that could arise after an earthquake strikes.
In this blog post, we’ll discuss both why HVAC earthquake prep is important and some key steps you can take to ensure your system stays safe and secure in the event of a major earthquake.
What Are the Risks to Your HVAC System During an Earthquake
An earthquake could cause severe damage to HVAC equipment, ductwork, and other components. This can lead to costly repairs or replacements and create hazardous conditions such as gas leaks, fires, and electrical issues. Without proper seismic protection in place, these risks become far more likely.
Common damage sustained by HVAC systems during an earthquake includes:
- Damage to ductwork throughout the home
- Collapsed or tipped-over furnace
- Loosened or damaged parts from shaking
- Damage to gas lines
- Damage to electrical connections and components
- Leaking refrigerant
If you notice any damage to your HVAC system after an earthquake, it's important to take immediate action to prevent further damage. Contacting a professional repair service that specializes in earthquake home protection, such as Moe Plumbing, is the best way to ensure that the proper repairs are done correctly and safely.
The Importance of Installing HVAC Seismic Bracing
Installing seismic braces/restraints on your HVAC system is essential to preparing it against earthquakes. These braces provide extra stability and are designed to limit the amount of damage that could be potentially sustained by the HVAC system during an earthquake, as well as reduce the risk of gas leaks or fires caused by dislodged electrical components. Additionally, installing a vibration isolation system can help reduce damage due to sudden shifts or vibrations during an earthquake. Finally, installing flexible piping on gas and refrigerant lines is another way to reinforce your system further. Flexible piping prevents breakage and subsequent leaking.
Outside of your HVAC system, installing an automatic shut-off valve on your gas line at your gas meter is also worth looking into. If a gas line breaks during an earthquake, the shut-off valve will detect it, stopping the gas flow into your home or structure.
Don’t Neglect HVAC Maintenance
Keeping up with your annual HVAC maintenance routine is an important preventative measure in ensuring your system is prepared for an unexpected earthquake. A well-maintained system will be able to withstand the stress of major seismic events better and will be more likely to continue running without too much disruption. Conversely, a poorly maintained HVAC system might experience seizing or breakdown when faced with a seismic shock.
Regular inspections can help one identify any potential problems that may arise so that they can be addressed before the worst happens. Small issues, such as worn parts, are less likely to withstand and continue working after an earthquake, so catching these issues before then is incredibly beneficial. Not to mention the bonus that the overall efficiency and lifespan of the system will be extended due to regular maintenance.
If you live or own property (residential or commercial) in the Los Angeles area, call Moe Plumbing today to discuss your earthquake preparedness plans. We offer a range of services, including automatic shut-off valve installation, seismic bracing for HVAC systems and water heaters, and repair work post-earthquake.