Home Heating & Air: Recovering from a Hurricane
Two massive hurricanes have wreaked havoc across Florida and Texas in the last few weeks. As families assess the damage and begin to repair and rebuild, they might find their HVAC system has been hit with some damage. Here are some tips on how to assess damage to your home’s heating and air system after a flood or storm and the steps you can take to remedy the situation.
There are preventative measures you can take to save your HVAC unit before a storm hits, but more often than not, people are only aware of these options after they’ve already experienced a similar situation. When the big one hits, you should give your HVAC a fighting chance. High winds can cause leaves, dirt and other debris to back up your unit. Placing a tight canvas or hail guard over it can prevent extensive damage. If your unit isn’t already anchored down, you should also place sand bags around it to try and keep it in place.
If power outages are expected in your area, you should unplug your system. If lightning strikes your unit, not only will it be in danger but so will your entire home. But be careful, your life is more important than heating and air — don’t touch the unit if the storm has uprooted power lines or if it’s been submerged by water.
Clear the Area
If your outdoor unit isn’t already in an isolated area of your home, you’ll want to clear any loose items from its vicinity. This will prevent things like lawn chairs, umbrellas, barbeques etc. from being taken up by high winds and slammed into your unit, causing irreversible damage.
Assessing the Damage
If your unit was unplugged, take a look at it before restoring power. Turning a unit on that has been damaged will likely only cause more problems and could be a safety hazard to your personal being as well. If you notice any damage, you should leave it unplugged and call an HVAC contractor right away. If you are reasonably certain your system didn’t get harmed in the storm, be sure to remove the covering before turning it back on.
Repairing the Damage
If you took the proper precautions and luck is on your side, the damage to your unit will be minimal. This includes things like cleaning the coils or replacing circuit boards, simple tasks a certified HVAC contractor can handle in no time.
If damage is more severe, you might have to replace major parts or the whole system altogether. Ignoring the damage or trying to fix the problem yourself is definitely not recommended in these scenarios. The good news is, if you have to replace the whole unit, there is a newer, more efficient model on the market that can save you big bucks on your electricity bill. A silver lining!
Thinking for the Future
If you have to replace your HVAC system after a flood or storm, you should take careful consideration on where to place it to prevent the new unit from facing the same fate. If your area is prone to floods, consider putting it in the attic instead of the basement. This may cost more money now but could save you thousands if another storm were to strike in the future.