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Hail Damage and Your HVAC

hail falling on home and hvac system

We have survived the troubles of winter weather and it is now time to have a look at what is in store for us this spring. One of the most damaging weather elements occurs during this season doesn’t always get much attention—hailstorms. Huge hailstones are uncommon in Virginia but have occurred. Although they can happen any month of the year, hailstorms in Virginia often peak during May and June, then gradually taper off during the summer. Virginia averages about 100 reports of severe hail a year, but it may not always occur in highly populated areas.

Hail is a form of precipitation that occurs when updrafts in thunderstorms carry moisture into the extremely cold areas of the atmosphere. The moisture freezes into ice, sometimes the size of golf balls, and rains down in destructive chunks. It has been reported that 84 percent of large loss claims involving HVAC damage were submitted for damage caused by hail.

After a hailstorm, homeowners often check their roofs, cars, and windows for any signs of damage. But not many homeowners ever think to check the outdoor components of their air conditioning systems. The condenser unit plays a critical role in your HVAC system. It removes the heat from the system by using a fan to pull air across a coil that refrigerant runs through.

Most parts of an HVAC system, whether it be commercial or residential, are well protected within a home or building. Yet there are still important components like the condenser unit that remain outside or on rooftops exposed to the elements. The condenser unit holds key components for transferring heat including a condenser coil, compressor, fan unit, and metal fins. While it may be covered by metal walls and screens—designed to protect from weather elements—the condenser unit is not completely impenetrable. Hail can still damage the condenser coil’s fins. The fins are often made of thin aluminum allowing them to be bent and dented easily if struck by hail. If the fins are flattened, airflow can be reduced affecting the condenser coil’s ability to transfer heat.

If hail is small enough, it can also cause additional internal damage to the condenser unit. Hail can also dent the internal fans. Although they might still run, a damaged fan may wobble causing long term damage.

Hail damage that has caused blocked airflow can quickly turn into other problems if left unchecked. Your air conditioner could begin running non-stop resulting in higher energy bills. Other parts will have to work harder, leading to more wear and tear and causing premature failure. This can shorten the lifespan of your system meaning an earlier replacement.

If your HVAC system has suffered damage from a hailstorm, give the experts at Bradley Mechanical a call at (804) 748-6728. Our certified technicians will inspect components, repair any that are damaged, and help you avoid any future problems as well. Our family of HVAC experts have been serving families in Central Virginia for over 50 years.