HVAC Safety After a Flood
We want to take a moment to send out our thoughts to everyone affected by Hurricane Harvey. Please, if you are able, give to the Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund, so that those who need it can get the resources to stay safe, hydrated, and healthy and, eventually, get back on their feet.
For now, we want to take the time to make sure you understand a little bit about what should be done in terms of your heating and air conditioning systems, if these are affected by a flood. This is our line of expertise, and we hope to help where we can. After a flood, or after a hurricane causes a storm surge, please take the proper safety precautions when it comes to your HVAC systems and your entire electrical system.
Gas and Propane Heating Systems
These are the systems you should be the most concerned about after flood damage. Damaged gas valves and furnace vents require you to have a professional take a look before you do anything else to your home.
Gas valve damage can be quite dangerous, and it may not be visible on a furnace to the average homeowner. With a flood of water comes a corrosion of valves. At minimum, schedule an appointment with a heating technician to inspect the equipment and replace valves and pressure regulators. However, a system replacement may be in the cards.
Electric Heating Systems
With electric furnaces, you should be most concerned with corrosion and the damage of electric heating coils. Be sure to call a technician for an inspection.
Radiant heating coils, on the other hand, may appear fine at a glance, especially since many of these cables have a waterproof coating. However, the cables should still be evaluated for mechanical stress, particularly if they were installed in a ceiling that required renovations post-flooding.
AC refrigerant and electrical lines are sealed fairly well, so they are unlikely to suffer damage even with prolonged exposure to flooding. The refrigerant system may become compromised, though, if the system moves out of place, and it may require resealing or replacement.
Even with no signs of AC damage, you should clean and dry the components of the AC system and have a qualified professional check all control circuits.
Be sure to check your ductwork after a flood as well, if the flooding managed to reach the ventilation system. Even if the ducts are okay, the insulation may not be. It will likely need replacement to avoid mold and contamination.
If ducts do need replacement, cleaning and sealing ducts gives you an opportunity to improve efficiency in the home anyway by sealing joints in the ducts.
A water heater in a flood zone will likely need replacement. This is not as large an investment as some other comfort equipment, and it can help you prevent inevitable future flooding thanks to the likelihood of corrosion. At the very least, you’ll need to replace valves and controls, along with any insulation around the unit. If you don’t replace your water heater right away, just keep in mind that it’s lifespan has likely reduced.
Repair vs. Replace
All in all, repairing any HVAC or water heating equipment caught in a flood may not be worth it, for your safety and for your wallet in the long run. Replacing the equipment can be a positive that comes out of a dark situation, allowing you to get new, more energy efficient equipment. Check whether government aid is available for replacing damaged equipment like essential AC units.
For more information, our team is here to help. We are specialists in HVAC installation, furnace repairs, and air conditioning repairs in Beaumont, TX. Our hearts go out to all the families affected by the recent devastation of Hurricane Harvey.