AHRI gives post-hurricane maintenance tips
Homeowners who found their property in the path of Hurricane Sandy may want to consider replacing their furnace or air conditioning, a manufacturers group says.
“Standing water in a yard, house, or basement can damage a home’s heating, cooling, and water heating equipment in ways that are not always readily apparent and putting families at risk,” said Stephen Yurek, president and chief executive of the Air-Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration Institute, a the trade association that represents makers of HVAC and water heating equipment. “We advise homeowners to play it safe and replace, rather than repair, flood-damaged heating, cooling, and water heating equipment.”
Among the items the group said homeowners may want to replace — and should at least have inspected:
Gas- and oil-powered furnaces and boilers. If water has reached this equipment, corrosion can occur to valves and controls, and it may not be readily apparent.
Electric furnaces. The same risks that apply to gas units are also faced by electric furnaces post-flood.
Propane heaters. Propane units can leak or be plugged from storm-related debris, causing dangerous malfunctions.
Radiant floor heaters. Wet surfaces can damage the cables or tubes that heat these floors.
Heat pumps and air conditioners. Wiring can be damaged and flood water may have moved condenser units, causing refrigerant leaks.
Ductwork. Water-damaged ductwork should not be used due to the potential of harmful bacteria entering the airstream. HVAC contractors will replace it.
Water heaters. Anytime the exterior of a water heater comes in contact with water, it should be replaced.
“While flood damage can be a very traumatic experience, homeowners can turn misfortune into opportunity by considering new, energy-efficient models that will lower their future energy bills,” Yurek said. “They also should ask their local utility about available rebates for installing new, energy-efficient heating and cooling equipment, and a competent contractor will be able to advise homeowners about equipment eligible for federal tax credits or state energy rebates.