Hailstorms can wreak havoc on your roof-mounted heating, ventilation and air-conditioning (HVAC) equipment. Severe damage can result in loss of heating and cooling, water damage and loss of use of the facility. Sometimes, the damage associated with a single hailstorm can surpass the cost of protecting the equipment in the first place.

Hail commonly impacts the following HVAC equipment:

  • Roof-mounted units
  • Air-cooler chiller
  • Cooling towers
  • Upright/vertical heat exchangers
  • Make-up air unit/air handler
  • Rooftop

EXAMPLES OF HAIL DAMAGE 

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*Photos courtesy of Air Solutions Company.

In some businesses, downtime and lost productivity can be more costly than repairs or replacement of the equipment itself. If you have processes that require cooling, then ongoing operations could be impaired. Loss of business income and extra expenses could be potentially devastating to your business.

HVAC systems are extremely vulnerable to hail damage; if hail impacts the fins of the coil assemblies, the fins can compress. This compression diminishes the heat transfer function of the HVAC unit, causing the system to function improperly.

Keep in mind that repeat hail damage can run down your system. Damage often accumulates, leading to replacement of the unit. The downtime needed to alter or repair the roof, ductwork and controls can create a significant project. Protecting your systems is a valuable risk management tool.

Protecting Your Equipment with Hail Guards

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*Photos courtesy of Air Solutions Company.

Hail guards are specifically designed to protect and cover outdoor equipment components while allowing for passable airflow. They provide an added layer of protection from hail and other flying debris, however, the size and velocity of hail may impact the effectiveness of any hail guard.

The majority of systems are designed to withstand hailstones of 1 ½” in diameter or less. If you’ve experienced larger hailstones, be sure to inform the designer of your hail protection system. They may alter the materials to withstand heavier hailstones at higher impact forces.

INSTALLATION OF HAIL GUARDS

HVAC units sold with factory-installed hail guards are the best overall option for your system. These systems are designed for the unit specifically to deliver the optimal airflow through the system and to maintain the operating efficiency of the unit. They can even be color-matched to the factory finish for a seamless appearance!

If you’re looking to add hail guards to an existing system, you should first contact the original equipment manufacturer to inquire if they supply hail guards. This helps ensure that the guards are properly engineered and will not negatively affect system performance.

If the manufacturer does not provide hail guards, you can try finding a third party provider who can manufacture a protective system for your units.

COST OF HAIL GUARDS

The costs associated with hail guards are difficult to estimate. Retrofit systems may be in the range of $25 - $35/square foot. The cost factors for a louver system and the filter-based system are comparable. Estimating costs is difficult due to labor and material fluctuations.

Our Businessowners Policies can help you avoid paying for sudden and accidental damage to your property:

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Blog Contributor Amy Ingram
Amy Casey
Social Media & Communications Coordinator
Amy joined Rockford Mutual in January of 2017 with an Associates Degree in Marketing. Amy has a great understanding of insurance in general as she is currently working towards an Associate in General Insurance designation.