HVAC Safety Tips

Posted on: July 16th, 2014 by RF Ohl

HVAC Safety Tips for Effort, PA

(and everywhere else, too!)

Get more information by calling our service team at RF Ohl, we are more than happy to help you learn how to protect your HVAC system in sever weather conditions.

Call us today at: 610-377-1098

Video Transcript:
Brett: Hey guys. This is Brett Lewis from L4 Group and thanks for taking a look at our video today on HVAC Safety Tips.

It’s the midst of the summer time. We’ve been having a lot of thunderstorms and severe weather and I saw a post on RF Ohl’s Facebook page about safety tips when it comes to HVAC and thunderstorms. So I thought let’s interview Steve Ohl who’s the President of RF Ohl and talk a little bit about that. So Steve, how are you today?

Steve: I’m good. How are you?

Brett: Good, good. I’m doing awesome. So before we get into some of the questions, why don’t you just give everybody a brief background about RF Ohl and why you’re qualified to talk about HVAC safety tips?

Steve: Well, we’re in business 30 years this year and we started out in the heating oil business and over the years, our customer demand increased for HVAC services. So we spend a major amount of our time in the summer time installing and servicing air conditioning and heat pump systems for our customers and for new customers.

So we actually do have a full service HVAC division just besides delivering heating oil and propane.

Brett: That’s awesome. That’s awesome man. Full disclosure, I’m one of your customers as well. You guys service my heating HVAC system. So – and I got to say just right off the bat, I call in, set up an appointment. You guys are prompt, show up on time, come in, keep the house clean when you’re in there working. My system is working awesome. So thanks.

Steve: You’re welcome. That’s great.

Brett: Yeah. So now, like I said in the intro, we’ve had some pretty severe thunderstorms roll through and that’s pretty typical for this time of year in Pennsylvania. Now, with the thunderstorms, can you explain why severe storms like this can be dangerous to your HVAC system?

Steve: Yeah, just a coincidence, we actually had a pretty bad one roll through here last night, a thunderstorm and lightning. It was right before dark and it was pounding rain and a lot of wind and lighting strikes. Luckily it was kind of all around us but yeah, I mean lightning and the storms that come with it are definitely a problem for the electrical components on the HVAC system.

Even though the direct hit from lighting could melt metal, it’s very intense heat. The high winds and rains, they could be blowing debris into your outdoor unit. So after the storm, you definitely want to – if you’re able to check around the house not only for the HVAC equipment but as you’re going around the house, just make sure nothing is blowing into it and damage other things but it’s all possible to have damage after a thunderstorm. A lot of people will think about just the power outage side of it. But if there is a direct lightning hit, it could definitely do a lot of damage.

Brett: Yeah, exactly. It’s funny because after real heavy storms, my tendency is to go outside, check my roof. I’m always looking at the roof, the flashing, seeing if anything blew off. I don’t really think about the HVAC unit itself. So that’s a habit that I started getting into is not just look up but look down and make sure that nothing got blown into the unit.

So that’s a great advice there. So now what about preparation? I mean is there anything that a homeowner can do in order to prepare for this kind of severe storms?

Steve: Yeah, there is always the recommendation out there to have a – like a weather emergency kit prepared. But I’m not really sure how many people take that advice and do it. I’m sure it’s probably not exactly 100 percent what is supposed to be in their kit but I just try to have something ready, flashlight. You want to have a – whatever radio is available or a download, a weather app on your phone for severe weather alerts. I know I get them all [0:04:58] [Indiscernible] Google when you hear the phone go off. It’s definitely – it’s like the TV alarm, that sound that …

Brett: Yeah, I get those also.

Steve: What’s going on? The first time I got one, I was – yeah, I wasn’t sure what it was and if you’re in a room with everybody who has a cell phone that’s going off and they’re all going off the same time. So they do work and the other thing is keep that kit available.

People tend to – if they do actually take the advice and prepare something, they maybe stick it in the corner, forget about it. But just watch the weather and when something like that is announced, look outside and make sure there’s nothing sitting out there that can become airborne or anything you have standing up that could possibly fall over, patio furniture and things like that.

Maybe take some of the stuff in you might have on a patio table. Take that in off the table or set it on the ground just so things don’t get blown into your windows or your home or your HVAC systems. Just some basic tips to – things I do when I hear about storm coming.

Brett: Yeah, yeah, exactly. Here’s a funny story. I was doing one of these Google Hangouts with someone else earlier in the week. Maybe it was last week and we had a severe warning come up on the phone. Actually it was a flash flood warning and right in the middle of the hangout, I got that wah, wah, wah. The person I was doing this call with was actually overseas and he’s like, “What the heck is that noise?” So yeah, but …

Steve: It’s pretty alarming …

Brett: What’s that?

Steve: I said it’s pretty alarming when you hear it. You know what’s going on.

Brett: Yeah, exactly, exactly. So, now, here’s another question. As far as electricity goes, you mentioned power outage earlier. It’s summer time, high demand for power. In some cases, we just get outages not even specifically because of the storm. It’s because of demand issues but in the event – regardless of how it happens if you do have an electric outage, what’s the best way to protect your HVAC system?

Steve: Well, one thing would be to shut off the circuit breaker.

Brett: Hello? Steve, you there? Hey Steve?

Steve: They don’t touch it when you’re in a storm area. Yeah.

Brett: Yeah. We’re having a little bit of lag here. Can you start over again with that?

Steve: One of the things that you can do for electrical outages is just shut off the circuit breaker that supplies the power to the system and unplug any of the unit that you could be there to prevent current from flowing into the HVAC system because actually just the electrical component can attract lightning. So it’s something you want to look out for.

The other thing is assess the damage after the storm has passed. Just kind of go out and like I mentioned earlier, look down and see if there’s any problems with it.

But if you do see electrical wires exposed or anything, don’t approach it. Call a professional. Have them take a look at it. Keep the system shut off and unplugged until the power is restored because you don’t want those sudden surges of power.

The other thing that you can do kind of as a preventative thing is when you’re installing your system or even afterwards if it’s installed. You can call an HVAC professional and have them install a power and surge protector. They’re not real expensive and it’s just another way to help you during power surges and other things. You should still go through all the measures I just mentioned but it definitely helps quickly if you’re not home.

Brett: Yeah, yeah. Absolutely. So those are some great tips on just preventative maintenance or preventative safety tips on what you can do in these types of storms. Is there any other just general tips on HVAC that you want to throw out there before we wrap up?

Steve: One of the things that you can definitely – you should do every year no matter what type of system you have. It could be propane, heating oil, natural gas, an electric heat pump, your air conditioning system. Have it tuned up. If you have an air conditioning system, you should quickly have that tuned up in the screen and then [0:10:16] [Indiscernible] component on that typically also. That should be tuned up in the fall. So you want to do your annual maintenance on those. It’s just like your car. You take your car in for an oil change. You have them check the brakes and tires, rotate tires possibly, all those things you could do to your vehicle.

A lot of people don’t think about the things at home that they have that should have preventative maintenance done on them. So that would be important for an HVAC system just to maintain the health of the system.

Brett: Yeah, absolutely, absolutely. So to wrap up, if someone wants to contact you, if they want to learn more about what they can do preventative-maintenance-wise, safety-wise, prevention, any of that kind of stuff related to air conditioning or heating, why don’t you give everybody your contact information? Then also touch on some of the other services that RF Ohl does.

Steve: Sure. We’re located at the 400 Interchange Road in Lehighton in PA which is on route 209. We’re right above Wentz Auto Body. Call 610-377-1098 and our website is www.RFOhl.com.

We’re also available on the website for Facebook and Twitter links. You can click on those. We’re active on both of those sites and also email info@RFOhl.com and a little bit about the services that we provide. We’re a full service heating oil and propane delivery company.

As mentioned in the video, we’re also a full service HVAC air conditioning, heat pump installation and service company and we also have a hearth and patio showroom located at 400 Interchange Road that we have patio furniture, barbecue grills, outdoor products. We have retractable awnings.

We also have fireplaces and space heaters, outdoor fire pits, salsas, barbecue sauce, smokers, wood burning chips, charcoal, all those things that you do outdoors for hearth and patio-related. Stop by and check it out. It’s definitely going on full swing right now. We’re in the middle of summer. So – and we also do propane tank refilling for your barbecue grills. So bring your grill tanks by and we will happily fill them up for you.

Brett: Awesome, awesome. If you don’t secure your patio furniture in these severe storms, you might be stopping by the showroom to buy new furniture. So that’s good. Yeah.

Steve: Every once in a while [0:13:22] [Inaudible] damaged and we get that request. We just bought this but the wind blew it off the porch. So …

Brett: Right, right exactly. So one last thing also, towards the end of the summer or I guess in September as well, you – I think you guys are running a year-end clearance sale on some patio furniture and grills. Can you just touch on that just briefly?

Steve: Yeah. We’re typically moving out of the summer and we’re starting to change our room over into the fall and winter items. So as we say to my customers, that piece of patio furniture, the barbecue grill looks much better on your porch than collecting dust in my showroom. So we’re all about getting those products moved out and offering a discount to the customers that come in and want to purchase the products even though the season is just about over. I know I use my outdoor products into November or December sometimes even. So I will be out grilling and staying in that patio for [0:14:47] [Indiscernible]. They’re not putting the stuff away for the winter. So yeah, if you’re that type of person and you want to purchase some patio furniture or barbecue grills, stop by and see us.

Brett: OK. Awesome. Awesome. Well, Steve, thanks for taking time today to talk about safety tips with HVAC and some of the other things that we discussed. So thanks again and have a great day.

Steve: Great. Thank you. You’re welcome.

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