What To Do If Your HVAC System Has Been Flooded
Homeowners who have experienced flood damage are advised to take important precautions with regard to their home’s heating and cooling system, according to the Air Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration Institute (AHRI). After a flood or storm surge, standing water can damage a home’s HVAC system — putting families at risk.
Replace? or Repair?
Flood-damaged heating and cooling equipment should be replaced and not repaired, according to AHRI. All inspection and replacement work on flooded equipment should be performed by a qualified heating and cooling contractor, not by do-it-yourselfers or unlicensed individuals.
“Standing water in a yard or house can damage a home’s heating and cooling equipment in ways that are not always apparent,” said AHRI President & CEO Stephen Yurek. “We advise homeowners to play it safe and replace, rather than repair flood-damaged equipment.”
Controls damaged by flood water are extremely dangerous. Attempts to use air conditioning and heating equipment with defective gas control devices can result in fires, flashbacks or explosions. And in the case of electric equipment, the result can be injury or even death from a powerful electric shock.
Even when systems appear to be operative, they should not be used after floodwaters recede. It may work for a while, but will deteriorate over time. It might take weeks, or even a year, but once any control has been under water, it presents a serious hazard.
Because so many things can go wrong as a result of floodwater, it’s usually cheaper, and always safer to replace, rather than repair. The wise choice is always to start over with new equipment.
In some instances, government aid may be available to help consumers finance the replacement of flood- damaged equipment. Homeowners should contact FEMA for assistance.
Air Conditioning & Heat Pumps Systems
Air conditioning and heat pump systems have power and control wiring between the indoor and outdoor parts of the system, and the piping that moves the refrigerant from inside to outside the home and back.
If flood water has repositioned any of the HVAC equipment, even by only a small amount, there is the potential for a breached refrigerant system. The equipment will then require major repairs or full replacement.
At a minimum, the entire system should be cleaned and disinfected by a qualified heating and cooling professional, who will check all electrical and refrigeration connections, including all control circuits.
Natural gas furnaces have gas valves and controls that are especially vulnerable to water damage from floods. Corrosion begins inside the valves and controls, and damage may not be readily visible, even if the device appears clean and dry. At a minimum, this damage can result in reliability and safety problems.
Pay attention to your ductwork too. Duct insulation that has been in contact with flood water should be replaced because it is impossible to decontaminate.
Berner Air Conditioning & Heating has been helping homeowners recover from natural disasters and return to their homes since the 1950’s. Call us to perform a comprehensive flood & safety inspection on your flooded equipment. The service is $79 per system. A descriptive written report will be provided with recommendations for cleaning, repair, or replacement; and is accepted by most insurance companies for claim purposes. Call us at 985-727-2302.