Across the Albuquerque region, our local power company has said that the summer of 2022 may see rolling brownouts. The peak summer months will challenge the utility’s ability to produce enough electricity to meet demand for it’s 525,000 customers across New Mexico.
Brownouts are planned power outages designed to help reduce the load on the power system by reducing the voltage, easing the demand on the power system. Brownouts are an attempt to minimize damage to the overall power grid but that drop in voltage, followed by the increase as the system in that area returns to full power, can harm some household appliances and HVAC systems.
In air conditioning systems, the unit is designed to work within a certain range of voltage. Parts such as the condenser motor need a consistent voltage.
Tips to help protect your HVAC system include:
- Have a surge protector installed on your HVAC system or a whole-house surge protector that will protect the entire home. Affordable Service’s electricians can install devices that will protect your home during brownouts, blackouts or lightning strikes.
- A phase monitor can be installed which ensures the refrigerated air system can withstand changes in voltage
- If your power goes off completely, turn the A/C unit off at the thermostat. When the power returns, your unit won’t immediately turn on, further taxing the power system.
- If your cooling system doesn’t come back on after a brownout or blackout, check the circuit breaker. It may need to be reset.
- Once your air conditioning system is back on, if it’s blowing hot air, making strange sounds, or if it won’t stay on, contact Affordable Service in Rio Rancho for a licensed technician to inspect the unit.
Swamp coolers, also known as evaporative coolers, are not as likely as refrigerated air systems to be damaged during power outages, but their motors are still designed to operate with consistent voltage. To prevent damage, it’s best to also turn the swamp cooler off until the brownout ends.
Remember also that surge protectors may be needed on your electronics, extra freezer, and refrigerator. If your fridge is without power for less than four hours AND you keep the door closed, items inside are probably okay, but if anything smells off or is a concern, discard it. Freezers left closed will usually keep food frozen for up to 48 hours.
Be prepared for the potential of summer brownouts or blackouts. Call Affordable Service for preventive measures. And if you do experience issues, our team will be here to help.