What Should You Do If Your Central A/C Unit Is Flooded?


In many parts of Canada, flooding is a surprisingly common occurrence that often has a tremendous impact on livelihoods and property. In the aftermath of a flood, chances are you're focused on salvaging and even resurrecting certain appliances and equipment, including your central air conditioning unit. Here's some advice on how you can figure out whether your central A/C system can be repaired or if it requires replacement.

Can It Be Repaired?

The first step towards salvaging your A/C system involves determining if the damage caused by flood waters was severe enough to seriously damage or destroy your HVAC equipment. There are several factors in play that can make or break your A/C unit's chances for recovery:

  • How much time has it spent underwater? The higher the flood waters and the more time your A/C unit spends underwater, the greater the likelihood that you'll have to replace the entire unit.
  • How much dirt and debris has gotten into the A/C unit? Flood waters can also bring with it tons of mud and other debris. Unsurprisingly, flood debris can find its way into parts of your A/C system. While portions of your unit such as the evaporator coil can survive being caked with mud, the compressor and blower fan motor is less likely to survive.
  • Is there still power to the A/C unit? If there's power still flowing to the A/C unit, you'll need to shut it off as soon as possible. Otherwise, it can cause irreparable damage to your unit.

In addition to determining the above, you may want to get a second opinion on your central A/C system's current state from a certified HVAC technician.

Salvaging Your A/C Unit

Getting your central A/C system back on track after a flood isn't as hard as you'd think. First, you'll want to make sure that all electrical switches to your air conditioner, including circuit breakers and disconnects, are turned off. This crucial step helps reduce the likelihood of dangerous shock, as well as prevents the system from being damaged during the cleanup and repair.

Next, you'll want to make sure that all of your A/C equipment is dry. Any visible or standing water should be removed with the help of a wet/dry vacuum and/or towels and absorbent cloths. Once the entire system and surrounding area is dry, you'll want to have your HVAC technician perform a close inspection of the central A/C system.

Your technician may have to clean, lubricate and even replace certain components before your A/C system is ready to run. This includes the evaporator coil, which should be carefully cleaned with a mild detergent or a foaming no-rinse cleaner before the unit is placed back into service.

The next step involves making sure that the central A/C system is free of any contaminants that could help spur mold growth and impact indoor air quality. For this reason, it's absolutely important that you swap your current air filter with a fresh, brand-new example. You should also take steps to wipe down and disinfect the immediate areas surrounding the supply and return air vents.

What to Look Out for Next

After your central A/C system is up and running, you may want to take the next few days and weeks to keep an eye on how your system runs. During this time, you'll want to look out for any of the following problems that could negatively impact your A/C system long after the flood. This includes any premature rust and corrosion issues, as well as mold and mildew in areas previously missed or not thoroughly checked.

It is also a good idea for an air conditioning technician to take another look at your A/C system, just to ensure that it's running in top shape post-cleanup. 


1 September 2015

Keeping My Air Conditioner On Point

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