Hurricane Preparedness: Essential Equipment Inventory Strategies

With hurricane season comes the potential for major challenges and major opportunities for HVAC equipment suppliers. In the wake of a hurricane, people will be flooding in to obtain essential units, like commercial coolers during power outages, portable heating units for water-logged construction sites, along with dehumidifiers and air purifiers for water damage remediation. With proactive preparation and strategic inventory management, suppliers, distributors, and contractors can turn challenges into opportunities, standing ready to meet the demand for portable climate equipment during hurricane season.

Track Current and Historical Hurricane Trends to Forecast Equipment Demands

The best way to prepare sufficient inventory is to anticipate the demand. Hurricane season begins in June and spans through November, with peak season occurring in August, September, and October. Take early steps to forecast the hurricane season based on the current outlook and historical trends from reputable sources, like the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). 

For the past three decades, NOAA and other climate research centers have forecasted a yearly average of:

This year, the forecast has doubled, predicting an especially active hurricane season with:

These increasing weather events put millions of people and businesses along the Eastern and Southern coasts at higher risk of experiencing a hurricane or tropical storm. Potentially impacted areas include the coastal regions of Virginia, the Carolinas, Georgia, Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, and Texas. By expecting and planning for problems before they arise, this allows more proactive preparation in building a strong inventory of portable climate control solutions.

Portable Cooling Solutions during Power Outages

With sustained, forceful winds, torrential rain, storm surges, and flooding, power outages are common in the aftermath of hurricanes. This leaves thousands — if not millions — of people and businesses sweltering in the heat, looking for portable cooling units. These solutions help prevent heat-related health issues and help ensure the integrity of sensitive equipment and goods. HVAC equipment suppliers, distributors, and contractors can stay prepared for residential, commercial, and industrial needs by maintaining a full, comprehensive inventory of cooling and power systems. 

Likely Equipment Needs

  • Generators: These portable units are essential for powering cooling equipment during electricity outages.
  • Portable Air Conditioners: These units provide immediate cooling relief and can be easily shipped and set up for use.
  • Fans and Air Movers: These vital units are crucial for circulating air and enhancing the effectiveness of cooling solutions.

Portable Air Conditioners

  • How It Works: The unit requires fresh air supply for operation and provides intensive spot cooling depending on the BTU capacity.
  • When To Use: This unit is suitable for indoor and outdoor cooling applications and includes programmable controls and lockable wheel for easy mobility.
  • Consider This: This unit includes washable, removable filters for easy, user-friendly maintenance and doubles as a dehumidifier.
  • Ideal Units: Airrex HSC-18P and Airrex HSC-60P 220/1.

Portable Heat Pumps

  • How It Works: The unit requires fresh air supply for operation and provides cooling, dehumidification, and heating solutions in one convenient package.
  • When To Use: This unit works well in indoor and outdoor spaces.
  • Consider This: Depending on the size, the unit will include swivel casters, or it will be mounted on a skid or trailer for simple portability.
  • Ideal Units: Mobile Cool® MOB-42-HP and Airrex AHSC-42

Evaporative Coolers

  • How It Works: This unit requires a consistent water supply to provide cooling benefits and will automatically shut off at low water levels.
  • When To Use: This unit is ideal for large indoor spaces like warehouses, shops, and garages with powerful cooling reaching up to 6,500 sq. ft.
  • Consider This: This lineup of units provides cooling with an average velocity of 26 mph, and it’s situated on wheels for easy mobility.
  • Ideal Unit: Portacool JetstreamTM 260

Stand ready with the right portable cooling units, consistently updating inventory with the latest models and newest technologies. Early preparation provides ample time to collaborate with local and state emergency management agencies to understand potential needs and areas that might be most affected and least likely to withstand forceful storms. Most importantly, people want quick and sure solutions now more than ever. With the right research and the right preparation, suppliers, distributors, and contractors can stand ready to meet people’s needs for portable cooling solutions in the aftermath of a hurricane.

Heating Equipment for Outdoor Construction Sites

Construction sites are particularly vulnerable to flooding, rain, temperature changes, wind, and flying debris during and after hurricanes. Depending on the severity of the storm, a hurricane could potentially topple a construction site or only cause minor water damage. Either way, it’s vital that portable HVAC equipment suppliers, distributors, and contractors maintain a full inventory of portable heating units. This will help ensure sites can quickly resume work to maintain project timelines and safety.

There are different types of commercial heaters that are appropriate for construction sites, depending on the purpose, setting, and power source. These units are very effective for large-scale drying and warming, while being versatile enough to quickly deploy across various site locations in the aftermath of a hurricane.

Direct Fired Heater

  • How It Works: The unit heats air directly in the combustion chamber, expelling warm air into the work site.
  • When To Use: It’s best suited for large, open, and well-ventilated areas.
  • Consider This: This unit is high-efficiency and cost-effective, and it requires proper ventilation due to combustion by-products.
  • Ideal Units: Safe-Heat SH-500 and Flagro F-1000T

Indirect Fired Heater

  • How It Works: The unit heats air through a heat exchanger, preventing direct contact with combustion gasses.
  • When To Use: It’s ideal for enclosed spaces where air quality is a concern.
  • Consider This: This unit provides clean, dry heat with no combustion by-products in the heated air. It’s slightly less efficient than a direct fired heater but safer for indoor use.
  • Ideal Units: Flagro FVO-400RC and Flagro FVO-200RC

Electric Heater

  • How It Works: The unit uses electric resistance elements to generate heat.
  • When To Use: It’s suitable for smaller, enclosed spaces and areas with limited ventilation.
  • Consider This: This unit is emission-free and easy to use, but it may have higher operational costs due to electricity usage. It’s also better suited for long-term HVAC needs rather than emergency use since it runs on electricity.
  • Ideal Units: Contact the TEMP-AIR® Equipment Sales team for recommendations. 

To increase inventory management, use predictive analytics to anticipate peak demand periods, allowing ample time to adjust and stock equipment ahead of time. Maintaining a buffer stock is highly recommended considering the upcoming hurricane season in order to handle any potential demand surges. The key here is to think ahead to predict and mitigate risk for end users. Suppliers, distributors, and contractors should cross-reference historical and current hurricane trends with market trends and end user feedback to make the right decision when stocking up on portable heating units. 

However, stocking up is just one part of the puzzle. It’s just as important to conduct regular quality checks and inspections on all equipment to ensure it is in optimal working condition, especially ahead of stressful events like hurricanes and tropical storms. Any potential issues with defective equipment can be avoided when partnering with reliable suppliers and manufacturers known for durable products.

Dehumidifiers and Air Purifiers for Water Damage Restoration

Dehumidifiers and air purifiers are especially critical in post-hurricane restoration efforts. Between flooding and raining, water damage is inevitable, and dehumidifiers can help prevent mold growth, while air purifiers can improve air quality. All around, these powerful, portable units help ensure the safety and health of restoration workers and building residents after a hurricane.

Commercial dehumidifiers provide both rapid drying and humidity control, making these portable units powerful in even the toughest structural drying challenges. When used with air movers, commercial dehumidifiers can quickly restore a building from water damage, helping people and businesses return to normal operations as soon as possible after a hurricane hits.

When it comes to water damage restoration, moisture and humidity removal is handled in three phases, with different equipment used for each:

  • Extraction Phase – The key to strong post-hurricane recovery is to physically remove as much water as possible from structures using specialized tools.
  • Airflow Phase – High-velocity air movers and HEPA air scrubbers take restoration a step forward by effectively evaporating moisture into the air, allowing for a more thorough drying process.
  • Dehumidification Phase – Commercial dehumidifiers, like low-grain refrigerant or desiccant units, absorb moisture from the air, creating a drier environment for all structures and materials within a space.
  • Temperature Control Phase – The final step of a thorough restoration process is to use portable heaters to ensure a warm enough air for consistent moisture removal and dehumidification, which require temperatures between 70ºF to 90ºF in the immediate aftermath of a water damage event.

Since there are so many different aspects to water damage restoration, suppliers, distributors, and contractors must maintain a stocked inventory of portable heating units, commercial dehumidifiers, and air filtration equipment to be fully prepared for the demand surge after a hurricane hits. There are many different types of units, with each type better suited for different needs.

Low-Grain Refrigerant Dehumidifier

  • How It Works: This unit uses refrigerant coils to cool the air and condense moisture out of the air to produce drier, warmer air.
  • When To Use: This unit is ideal for large-scale projects and water damage restoration.
  • Consider This: This unit is able to remove a majority of moisture from the air, even in low humidity situations. It produces air that is much drier and warmer than its original condition.

Desiccant Dehumidifier

  • How It Works: This unit draws in moist air over a silica gel-coated desiccant wheel to absorb moisture and release dry air.
  • When To Use: This unit can dry dense materials, like hardwood, lath, plaster walls, and concrete.
  • Consider This: This unit can remove humidity in a range of temperatures, from freezing cold to moderately warm environments.

Air Mover

  • How It Works: This unit uses rotor-powered blades to pull in air then push it out at high speeds.
  • When To Use: This unit helps create a strong, direct, and targeted breeze and can be used in just about any environment needing increased airflow or restoration.
  • Consider This: This unit increases the rate of moisture evaporation by helping move the air, increasing the effectiveness of dehumidifiers.

Air Scrubber

  • How It Works: This unit is specifically used indoors, either with or without HVAC ductwork or other portable units.
  • When To Use: Depending on which filters are used in the unit, it can remove a variety of airborne particles, like dander, hair, lint, dust, pathogens, allergens, mildew, smoke, and odors.
  • Consider This: The multi-layered pre-filter, HEPA filter, and carbon filter process mitigates all indoor air pollutants with close to 100% effectiveness.

Based on location, it’s important to pay close attention to weather trends and adjust stock based on the specific needs of regions more prone to hurricanes. Stay prepared by having ship-ready and use-ready setups for a variety of equipment, from restoration to cooling to heating units.

Industry partners trust TEMP-AIR® Equipment Sales with inventory strategies for hurricane preparedness

Proactive planning and strategic inventory management are essential for HVAC equipment suppliers, distributors, and contractors to effectively respond to the demands of hurricane season. Be prepared to meet the critical needs of all customers with these strategies and the right supplier.

The team at TEMP-AIR® Equipment Sales stands ready to support you in building an inventory for hurricane preparedness and restoration. With a wide range of portable climate control units, we offer solutions that are adaptable, safe, reliable, and cost-effective. Plus, we offer all our partners full customer and technical support to any end user.

Contact TEMP-AIR® Equipment Sales today at 1-866-365-2295 to discover how our portable climate control solutions can transform your inventory to be fully prepared for the hurricane season.

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