After the Flood: Repair or Replace Your HVAC System?

Surf City, NC, has a risk of extreme flooding after a heavy downpour, requiring measures to restore indoor air quality. Floodwaters may cause damage to your HVAC unit and expose it to harmful microorganisms such as bacteria. Read on to learn whether you should repair or replace your HVAC system after you experience a storm that causes flooding.

What to Do After a Flood

Your HVAC system may not be operational after a flood. However, the essential thing to do after a flood is to stay safe. Never plug in or power your HVAC equipment until the water has receded.

Your HVAC system may be functional depending on the magnitude and duration of the flood. However, only an HVAC expert can determine whether it’s OK to use. So, have a professional check your system before you power it back on.

If your HVAC contractor recommends a replacement, it’s wise to schedule it after any cleanup and renovation in the wake of the flood. This work can emit dust and other contaminants that could affect the performance of your air conditioner. Also, running the AC system during renovations could clog the air filters and contaminate the ducts.

Sometimes, it may not be possible to delay the replacement, so you must take extra precautions. For example, you may need to add an in-duct media filter and use active air purifiers.

The answer to the question of repair or replacement may depend on the cause of the flooding. For instance, salty water destroys vital HVAC components, making replacement the wise choice. Since Surf City is prone to salty floodwaters during hurricanes, replacements make more sense than attempting repairs.


The extent to which flooding affects your ductwork depends on the water levels. If your ducts have been submerged, you’ll need to replace them. It’s impossible to decontaminate submerged ductwork because of exposure to dirt and harmful microorganisms.

If floodwater never touched the ducts, you may simply need to check and replace the seals. However, even if water didn’t reach the vents, you need to replace the insulation after a flood. In this situation, you need to call HVAC experts to clean, disinfect and dry your system.

Air Conditioner

While the cooling system’s outside unit can withstand typical weather, it can’t cope with submersion. After submersion, the wires and electrical components are susceptible to corrosion and short-circuiting. Additionally, the condenser seal breaks and the coils become dirty.

When floodwater repositions any part of the HVAC system, it can cause a breach of the refrigerant. You need an HVAC service technician to determine whether repair or replacement is the better option.

Heat Pump

Like AC components, the heat pump’s electrical components are sensitive to floodwaters. Corrosion of wires and control elements can easily make the system break down or short-circuit. Let your HVAC service technician inspect your heat pump to determine its usability, repair or replacement.


The furnace is ultra-sensitive to floodwaters. Particularly, salty water accelerates the corrosion of critical elements in the furnace. Exposure to water cause degradation of the gas valves, heat exchanger and burners.

Cracks or tiny holes in the furnace compromise the combustion process, leading to the emission of carbon monoxide. For this reason, arrange for thorough cleaning and inspection of the integrity of your system by certified professionals.

Minor furnace damage requires cleaning and repairing the coils. Otherwise, replacing your entire system is best to avoid safety risks.

After a flood, your HVAC system may continue to function if the damage is not extreme. However, it won’t perform at its peak, and it may soon break down. You need to reach out to an HVAC expert for inspection and advice.

After a flood, only a professional HVAC expert can determine what damage your system has suffered and what it’ll take to get its functioning normally and safely again. If you live in Surf City, contact Gideon Heating & Air Conditioning for HVAC maintenance, installation and repair.

Image provided by iStock

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