While flooding is more frequent in areas that experience harsh weather conditions, all homes could be vulnerable to flooding in the right circumstances. Often, these floods get into the HVAC system of homes, causing significant damage and posing health risks to those who live there.
In Kansas and Missouri, HVAC flooding often occurs in the spring and summer due to snowmelt and rainstorms. For this reason, Cates Heating and Cooling aims to provide you with the information and knowledge about what to do if your home’s HVAC system floods.
What Causes HVAC Systems to Flood?
HVAC flooding occurs when water levels rise over the bases of the HVAC equipment. There can be a variety of causes that lead to HVAC flooding. The one that comes to mind first for many people is big storms, especially ones that lead to flash flooding. When surrounding storm drains are overwhelmed with downpouring rain, the water has nowhere to go, causing it to build up in homeowners’ yards and even seeping into window wells and basements. While severe weather is a primary cause of flooding, the following are other things that may lead to water buildup in an HVAC system:
- When a dam bursts or a river or creek overflows, this surplus of water can affect nearby homes, causing severe damage to their HVAC systems as well as other parts of the home.
- If there was significant snowfall during the winter months, spring snowmelt could cause flooding to rivers and reservoirs that eventually affects nearby homes.
- There are several reasons for plumbing pipes to burst, such as frozen or decaying pipes and clogs in pumps or toilets. When pipes rupture, large amounts of water flow into the home and may lead to flooded HVAC equipment.
- During power outages, the sump pump becomes disabled. With nowhere for the pluming water to go, it floods the basement, potentially causing significant damage to various parts of the home, including HVAC equipment.
- Poor yard drainage can cause water from storms, sprinklers, or snowmelt to build up in the yard. Without proper drainage, there is a risk of this water seeping into the home.
Knowing the causes of HVAC flooding can help prevent it from occurring. However, emergencies happen, and if your home falls victim to flooding, you should know what types of damage can arise and what your next steps should be.
How Do HVAC Systems Become Damaged from Flooding?
If water seeps into your HVAC equipment, it can cause significant damage to the system as well as the rest of your home. First, the combination of moisture and metal means that the ductwork, fans, and other parts of the equipment are susceptible to infectious bacteria growth, like mold, E.coli, and tetanus. These bacteria can become airborne if the HVAC system is turned on and air is pumped through the vents, posing serious threats to your family’s health.
Additionally, if the air conditioning unit or heat pump is submerged in water for any period of time, it can cause significant damage to the circuit, condenser, fan, and more. In many cases, this requires the entire unit to be replaced.
Who Do I Call When My HVAC System Floods?
Floods are overwhelming to all homeowners. When you are faced with a flood in your home, there are people you can call to mitigate the damage. You should first call your home insurance provider to file a claim so that most of the damage costs will be covered. Next, you should call an experienced HVAC technician to inspect the damage. Although some handy homeowners may be able to assess the damage on their own, it is always better to call a professional to ensure your safety. If flooding hits many homes in your area, it may take a while for an HVAC technician to get to your home. For this reason, it is beneficial to keep a generator on hand that can power fans or heaters while you wait.
Should I Repair or Replace My HVAC System After It Floods?
Repair or replace is always a good question. In some situations, the HVAC technician can clean the equipment and replace only parts of the system. However, depending on the damage, you may need to replace the HVAC system altogether. Luckily, if you filed an insurance claim, most of the expenses will be covered.
At Cates Heating and Cooling, our HVAC experts are experienced in helping homeowners in Johnson County, Kansas, when issues arise with their HVAC systems. If your HVAC units become flooded or experience any other issues, call us at 913-888-4470 if you are a Kansas resident or 816-944-1844 if you are a Missouri resident.