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Prepping your air conditioner ahead of a dust storm

Strong winds are expected to sweep through the Valley this weekend, bringing dust that will impact our air quality.

Even after the storm, lungs and good health can suffer long after the winds die down.

Air conditioning is often a necessity when living in the desert. For many, it’s running constantly during our hot summers. But when high winds gusts make their way into the Valley, you might need to think twice about keeping the AC on.

“If you see power fluctuations during the sandstorm, shut your air conditioner off," says Daniel Warren McIntyre, President of All Valley Air. "If the voltage your power in your house starts to go up and down. For the simple reason that is the number one killer of compressors is low voltage.”

McIntyre has been President of All Valley Air in Palm Desert for 18 years. He’s seen it all when it comes to cooling and heating systems.

Fortunately, he tells us your outdoor AC units are likely safe during a dust storm. “Dust doesn't necessarily bother the outdoor units. They're made to run in weather, no doubt, they're tested rigorously for that so that they have longevity.”

Be sure to double-check your windows are closed and sealed as well. “It will find its way and keep your windows closed. No doubt about that," McIntyre explained, "A lot of people don't realize even though we have beautiful blue skies, just how much dust is in that air.”

Once the dust storm passes through, McIntyre says there’s a few things you should keep in mind.

“It's a good idea to twice a year have your unit maintenanced, change the air filters in there at least once a month.... Because if the evaporator coil gets restricted, the your efficiency goes down and it costs you more money electricity.”

Other tips to remember:

  • Be sure to clean your air conditioner from time to tie
  • Increase ventilation, like keeping vents and fans on to keep air moving & keep dust from settling
  • If your allergies tend to act up during dust storms, it may be a good idea to get an air purifier or scrubber
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Samantha Lomibao

Samantha joined KESQ News Channel 3 in May 2021. Learn more about Samantha here here.

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