There are simple things that you must do/not do with your HVAC system after a storm if you want to get the best performance and stay safe. Here’s what to do, and what not to do when a storm strikes.
Don’t turn on your HVAC system immediately
Depending on the severity of the storm, you might have been forced to adjust your lifestyle in ways you don’t like. Furthermore, you might have a lot of things to fix and might be tempted to make yourself a bit comfortable by turning on the AC while working.
Think about it: If your AC’s external unit or your furnace has gathered some debris or water has seeped into the wrong places, you could cause a lot more damage by turning them on.
Complete your inspection first and ensure everything is in good condition before turning your system on.
What to Look for After A Storm
So what are the things to look out for during an hvac engineering firm inspection after a storm?
AC’s External Unit
One of the most important things to check is your AC’s external unit. Make sure it isn’t sitting in water.
Now, even if it isn’t sitting in water at the time of inspection, it’s also important you check to see if water had seeped into it.
Debris in the Unit
Next, check to see if there’s debris in the unit. Remove any that you find and then check for any forms of damage to the unit.
It could be as simple as a few loose screws or something serious.
Also, note that a shift in the outdoor unit of a split unit can lead to a refrigerant leak. And floodwater can cause such a shift. If this is the case with your system then you’ll need to call an expert as this might entail major repairs.
How’s Your Heating System?
Gas Furnace or Boiler
Do you have a gas furnace or boiler? If so, you need to be aware of the fact that they come with controls and valves that can be compromised by water from heavy rain or floods.
While everything might seem alright, corrosion might have set in on those controls and valves. Have a technician inspect them if you believe they’ve come in contact with flood water. This is to ensure your safety and reliable performance from the unit.
Note that electric furnaces are also vulnerable and need to be inspected once you suspect that flood water got to the furnace.
Propane Heating System
Do you use a propane heating system? Then you need to be very cautious. Have an expert do a thorough inspection. This will include checking and replacing controls and valves that have come in contact with floodwater. It also involves checking the gas pressure regulator.
Debris could easily block the hole that enables the system sense external pressure. If it is blocked, it could be dangerous as the regulator will malfunction.
Radiant Floor Heat
For those who have a heating system that operates with radiant floor heat it’s important that you note that the tubing that circulates fluid or the electrical heated cables can be compromised if they come in contact with flood water.
Have an expert check to ensure nothing has been damaged.
Access the situation and see if it’s something you can handle yourself or such that you’ll have to call an HVAC professional.
Now, if you can’t see anything that’s amiss or if you’ve fixed what you noticed, you can now turn on your system but you need tostay observant while it’s working in case something crops up.
Troubleshooting your HVAC after a storm
Immediately after turning your system on, you have to be alert for any abnormal performance. Here are some general tips to troubleshoot your HVAC after a storm.
1. If your system isn’t turning on, check your thermostat.
Digital thermostats are negatively affected by power surges. And since most modern HVAC systems come with digital thermostats, it is a good first place to check.
Your thermostat probably shut off during a power surge to protect your system. All you need to do to resolve this is just turn off the thermostat and wait for a while for it to reset.
Turn it on after about 10 minutes and adjust the settings as needed.
2. Sometimes your HVAC system will refuse to turn on because the breakers in your home tripped during a power surge. When this happens, the circuit breakers in your system might also trip.
To rectify this, check both your home’s and HVAC’s circuit breakers.
3. Your system might not turn on if it had been damaged by lightning. Lightning isn’t friendly to electrical installations as you might imagine, and can easily damage both the electronic and electrical components of your system.
Note that your split AC’s outdoor unit is particularly vulnerable to lightning because it has metal parts and is also outdoors.
If you suspect that there has been such damage, call an expert to help you fix it.
4. If your AC is making weird noises like a buzzing or rattling sound, it could be that you weren’t able to clear all debris and some might have become lodged in your unit. It could also be that the compressor or fan has been damaged.
If it’s a screeching sound, make sure you turn off your system immediately as it is a sign of something serious like a damaged compressor or leaking refrigerant.
Do not attempt to fix this yourself. You need an expert to handle this safely.
5. If your AC isn’t cooling your home as well as before, you might have a refrigerant leak.
Apart from the fact that an AC with leaking refrigerant won’t cool as well, it will also raise your utility bill as the AC works harder to cool the standard levels.
As you can tell a lot of these are going to require professional help if the storm did a particular number on your HVAC unit, so if you’re at all concerned that something is wrong with yours don’t hesitate to call a professional. They handle this sort of thing all the time and can get you back to comfort fast!