Recently our country was hit by two hurricanes. One found its mark in Houston, Texas and the other made land fall along southern islands and traveled through Florida. The devastation in Houston, Texas has been estimated to reach almost 200 billion and Florida may see damages reaching as high as 175 billion. The impact to people’s lives is unmeasurable and the challenge of rebuilding is staggering.
Freedom Heating and Cooling would like to express its condolescenses and heart felt regard for the victims of these storms. We pray for your recovery and hope that all will be well with you and yours.
HVAC Preparation and Protection
In light of the occurrence of these storms and the possiblee occurence of future storms similar in magnitude, it is recommended the following things be done to minimize the damage to your home and specifically your HVAC system.
Things to do:
- Turn all breakers off. That includes the mains to the AC system, heat pump, indoor air handler, and the gas furnace.
- Turn off all the gas supplies to your home.
- Check the outside unit and make sure it is bolted down correctly. Also consider building a structure around the outside unit to prevent damage from flying debris.
- If you are expecting a direct flow of flood water, consider removing the outside unit and storing it at a higher elevation such as your attic or even the rooftop if the surface allows.
- Look for objects that are loose and lying around near your home and outside unit. Remove these objects as wind will use them like piercing arrows through vital pipes, electrical wires, and encasements.
After the Storm
After the storm, you will be returning to severely damaged and dangerous areas. There will be downed, live electrical wiring, precariously hanging debris, toxic water, and a home that may not look like the one you left before the storm.
Do these things to keep yourself safe and minimize further damage to your HVAC system.
Do not turn the HVAC system on thinking it will begin to dry the area or condition the air for you. Have it inspected first as the wiring and other parts may be damaged and cause fires or electrocution to yourself or family.
Inspect your HVAC system outside areas for cuts, dings, and dents. These can indicate inside damage also. If there are obvious refrigerant leaks, stay away from them and call your HVAC company. Look for carbon deposits or charred metal. This could indicate electrical shorts and the potential for fire.
Remember that the water is now receding and will leave behind things that traveled through the water to your home. As the water levels go down, there may be some shocking things revealed in your HVAC system that don’t normally live there such as fish, other dead animals, and odd looking debris.
Be aware that mold spores may now proliferate. Understand this mold is damaging to your immune system and lungs in particular. Start to work as soon as possible identifying this mold and having it removed.
With respect to your gas or oil furnace, you should have it checked by a professional also. If flood waters reached the furnace, understand it contains valves and system controls that are susceptible to damage with corrosion setting in also. There are internal parts and you will not be able to inspect them without an electrical safety shutoff and assesment by a licensed technician.
If you have an electrical furnace will contain fans, coils, and system controls also susceptible to water damage. It also cannot be inspected without looking inside the unit and this must be done by a certified person.
With respect to the use of propane in your home, it will be important to use caution. Have the equipment checked and understand any system using propane will have pressure regulators, system controls, and valves that will need to be inspected.
Heat pumps and HVAC systems have sensitive wiring components and wiring that runs from inside the house to the outside. If water infiltrated the area, there may be refrigerant leaks. In order to discover these leaks and repair your system, you will have to employ the work of a licensed HVAC technician. The decision to be reached is whether you will repair or replace the HVAC system. The technician and his company can assist you to make this decision.
Ductwork and insulation will have to be inspected. The ductwork will have to be disassembled, inspected, cleaned, dried, disinfected, reinstalled, broken sections replaced and all seams rejoined. The insulation, if damaged by water will have to be discarded and replaced.
With regard to storms, hurricanes, tornadoes, and other catastrophic events the manufacturers of HVAC units do not offer warranties that cover damaged equipment. However, home insurance companies do provide coverage for events such as these. It is best to think of this kind of situation as an opportunity to upgrade your HVAC system or replace it with a more energy efficient unit. The money saved on a more energy efficient system may offset the necessary expediture for the upgrade of replacement.
If you or someone you know has questions related to disaster recovery for your HVAC system, call Freedom Heating and Cooling at 205 444 4444.