Houston Area AC Units May Be Damaged by Flooding, Risk Failure

Air Aide Serves the Houston Community during recent flooding.

HOUSTON, Texas – Houston, Texas-area homeowners and businesses with properties damaged by the recent historical flooding are potentially facing looming problems with their climate control systems that may not be obvious to the untrained eye. Carrier and Air-Conditioning, Heating & Refrigeration Institute warn that standing water associated with flooding can result in system failure well after the water has receded.

“Standing water in a yard or house can damage a home’s heating and cooling system in ways that are not always readily apparent,” said Stephen Yurek, president and CEO of AHRI. “We advise homeowners to play it safe and replace, rather than repair, flood-damaged heating, cooling and water heating equipment.”

Carrier and its Houston-area representatives are urging homeowners to work with a local, licensed contractor to determine the status of their system.

What AC owners need to know

More than 134,500 residences in the ten-county Houston area have been damaged or destroyed by Hurricane Harvey, according to a report from the Texas Division of Emergency Management.

Any air conditioning unit that has taken on water is potentially damaged. Most water-damaged units may need to be replaced, according to AHRI. A flooded home comfort system is similar to a flooded car. It may appear to operate normally, but may be prone to suffer serious problems due to the long-term impact of the water damage.

A system submerged in flood waters could contain substantial amounts of dirt and debris and may also become contaminated with various types of microorganisms such as bacteria and fungi. Additionally, moisture can collect in HVAC system components that were not submerged, like air ducts, which can also promote growth of microorganisms. Therefore, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends having all components of the HVAC system that were contaminated with flood water or moisture inspected, cleaned and disinfected by a qualified professional.

When to replace

While AHRI recommends replacing a water-damaged HVAC system, the timing of when to replace is important, according to Houston-area dealers.

“The vast majority of damaged homes and businesses are having drywall work done plus hardwood floors sanded,” says Corey Boyer, owner of Air Aide, a Houston service company. “In these cases consider whether it is best to wait to run the new system until the drywall work and floors are finished because you don’t want to circulate dust and debris through a new system. It will likely contaminate it.” Typically, the heating and cooling system is usually replaced near the end of a renovation project.

Protect your wallet and your home

According to Zac Linde, president of Carrier Enterprise, the following are ways to play it safe to protect your investments:

  • Get the system inspected by a Texas-licensed technician. The company’s license number should be on its website, vehicles, printed material and in advertising.
  • Go to the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation website (tdlr.texas.gov) and use the search function to see if the company is licensed.
  • Check out the Better Business Bureau and review websites, such as Home Advisor and Angie’s List.
  • Ask in advance what the cost of an inspection is and. when possible, get two quotes. Many dealers are providing discounted hourly repair-and-install rates.
  • Ask about pricing. Each home or business is different. Size of the dwelling is the most important factor in determining price, but many other issues come into play. If you can, get two bids and ask for advice based on your personal needs and income.

For more information, carrier.com or call 1-800-CARRIER.