Hurricane Harvey left devastation in its wake when it made landfall in the Houston area in 2017, and this mega-storm was a harsh reminder of just how fierce and powerful nature can be. The torrential rains and high winds left immense damage in their wake as well as significant flooding that caused immense damage to homes everywhere, as well as their important features. We received a lot of calls from people whose HVAC systems had suffered significant damage as a result of the flooding from these hurricanes, and this was a good learning experience for us to know what to expect should another storm ever hit again in terms of the impact to your cooling and heating systems.
The Scope of the Damage
What kind of damage did most people sustain? As you might expect, the damage primarily centered around the outdoor cooling system in the area. While many homes suffered serious flood damage inside as well, outdoor flooding was the most serious offender when it came to damaging HVAC systems. While outdoor units are designed to withstand severe weather without issue, including heavy rains, hail, and even minor flooding, the immense water load that can be left in the wake of a hurricane can damage even the most weather-resistant components. It’s not uncommon for outdoor units to sustain damage or even be destroyed by hurricanes, bringing your entire HVAC system down.
However, should your outdoor unit survive the ordeal and still remain standing, there may still be some serious damage. For starters, never turn on your outdoor unit while flood waters are still filling your outdoor unit. This can interfere with the heat transfer necessary to make them work properly, thus causing the entire system to potentially fail. The outdoor unit may also have suffered some serious damage that can require major repairs. Water and dirt may have infiltrated motors and bearings, causing them to squeak loudly or even seize up. The fan may have become damaged in the high winds. And it’s highly likely that your cooling fins have likely become clogged with dirt and other debris deposited by the flood waters, thus preventing them from doing their job and increasing the likelihood that your system will rapidly overheat when you first turn it on.
To make matters even worse, there’s a chance the flooding may have gotten to your electrical components as well, creating shorts that could spark or cause a fire when you first flip your system on.
Repairing Hurricane Damage to Your HVAC System
So what should you do in the aftermath of a hurricane hitting your home to prevent your HVAC system from breaking down? The first thing you should do is pick up the phone and call a Stuart HVAC team to come out and inspect your system before turning it on. This inspection can help spot any potential damage or issues that the hurricane may have created and fix them before they can cause even more problems after flipping the switch to on. An inspection will often include things like a full electrical inspection, fan belt and motor inspection, and much more.
However, another thing that can go a long way to preserving your system is to have your condenser coils cleaned and maintained. Assuming your system hasn’t sprung any leaks in the severe weather, a coil cleaning can remove any dust, dirt, and other debris that may have become stuck to your coil during the flooding, thus allowing it to transfer heat properly at its fullest capacity. This reduces the workload on your system as well so you don’t have to worry about burning more electricity than normal to keep your home cool in the humid heat of a Houston area summer.If your home has been impacted by a hurricane, have your HVAC system inspected by Day & Night A/C & Heating, LLC! Call us at (904) 425-7020 to schedule your appointment today.