Keeping my HVAC system clean after a sandstorm

When I planned to move to a desert state for a new job, I wasn’t expecting the degree of transitions I would face from day one.  Growing up in the hot and humid southern United States was nowhere near sufficient to prepare me for the 110 degree afternoons that would greet me on random July and August afternoons with little to no cloud cover in sight.  I changed my daily wardrobe choices and limited my time outdoors on days when I knew it would be particularly intense. Although I seem to eventually catch a break regarding the outdoor temperatures during many times of the year, what I can’t seem to ever escape regardless of the season is sandstorms.  They come on with little warning if you aren’t following weather forecasts closely all hours of the day, and if they’re severe enough it becomes next to impossible to even drive a few miles down the road. The visibility often hits zero when a particularly strong one rolls through my city. Unfortunately, there was one afternoon that I left the house with several of my windows down and was caught in a sandstorm while shopping at the grocery store.  Although I was able to take shelter in the store for an hour while waiting for it to pass, my house wasn’t as lucky. My air conditioner had been running while the windows were open and pulled in a lot of outside air and a considerable amount of sand. I found it on surfaces near the windows and all over the floor. But worst of all was finding it in my air return and eventually the air handler after my HVAC technician opened it to take a look. Thankfully he was able to clean out the sand before it damaged the evaporator coil and I was able to handle the rest of the sand around the house.  I know now to always keep my house shut up whenever a sandstorm is passing through.