What to do with Hurricane Damaged Air Conditioners

In the wake of Hurricane Hermine, many Floridians are asking, “What do I do if my AC unit is flooded or damaged?”

Wind and debris damaged AC units:

If your AC unit is damaged due to debris or falling trees hitting it, it is most likely covered by your homeowners insurance policy.  This usually involves visually dented, and damaged parts, and the system needs to be repaired or replace.  Call us immediately to get on the schedule for an evaluation of your system.

Flooded AC units and Inside Furnaces/ Air Handlers:

You should immediately turn off the electrical circuit  to your unit  and turn off the thermostat to prevent any harm to yourself and any further damage to the unit. You do this switching off the proper circuit breaker in your electrical panel box.

Outside AC Units:

While your outdoor air conditioner is built  to withstand Florida rain and humidity, it is not designed to be submerged in water. We recommend to have a professional HVAC technician check your system before turning it back on if it was submerged in fresh water for a short time.  This can avoid serious damage and help  prevent corrosion.  If an outdoor air conditioner has been for a prolonged time in rain water or exposed for any period to salt water, it should be replaced.  Even if the system appears to work initially, the salt will corrode the system within a year or two, using increasingly more energy in the interim.

After a hurricane or tropical storm, it is smart to inspect your unit, as  heavy rain and wind can damage a system:

  • Check all the wires, connectors, and electrical components for corrosion and exposure.
  • Check the condenser seal on the fan motor to see if the seal is broken and/or the motor is water damaged. These motors are designed to be in the rain but not submerged.
  • Have the coils checked cleaned, as mud, and debris .  This needs to be be done from the inside of the unit by removing the unit cover.
  • The condenser fan motor could be damaged if the seal around the motor is bad.   Compressor terminals should be cleaned as rust and corrosion could build  up over the next few months.

Flood Insurance Claims to Replace your AC Unit

While traditional homeowner’s insurance policies do not cover floods, FEMA flood insurance will replace your outside system if it has been flooded with salt water, no matter how little water.  It is important to take advantage of replacing your unit as salt-water damage does not necessarily appear for up to 2 or 3 years, when it’s too late to file a claim. Meanwhile, as the salt-corroded system deteriorates, it uses significantly more energy.  Replacing your system immediately theough your FEMA flood policy will save you headaches in the future.   Bay Area Air Conditioning has experience  in this area and can help you get your system whole again!

Indoor Furnaces and Air Handlers:

Your indoor unit is designed for indoor use only and is more vulnerable to water damage. As little as six inches is enough to damage portions of your air handler/furnace, especially when it is located in areas like crawl spaces under your house. If you have interior flooding to your system, you should call a professional  technician.

Avoid Future Damage:

Even if your AC unit is still working after it floods, it could take weeks or months for the full effect of the water damage to make itself known. Don’t hesitate to call a local HVAC professional to check and fix these damaged areas.

.Call Bay Area Air Conditioning today to schedule a post-storm check-up on your system.  We might be able to save you from needing a new system now or the new future!

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