Surveyors are still estimating damage from Hurricane Ian, but it’s likely to be one of the costliest storms in U.S. history. Although Ian’s winds nearly reached Category 5 status, its rain and storm surge caused the most problems.
Thousands of homes and businesses in Southwest Florida sustained flood damage during Hurricane Ian, either from storm surge or water intrusion from roof damage and leaky windows. Roadways are littered with water-damaged furniture, bedding, clothing, flooring, drywall and other items.
Although property owners also have thrown many damaged appliances to the curb, damage to HVAC systems and water heaters isn’t as obvious. In fact, they often function after power is restored, even if the condenser, air handler unit or water tank got wet or was submerged in floodwaters. That gives a false sense of security.
Your system isn’t safe. It may only work for a short period, but eventually the mechanical or electrical systems will fail. Air conditioning systems and water heaters are complex machines filled with wires, coils, fans and electrical components. Even the most experienced DIYers should not attempt repairs. The Air-Conditioning, Heating and Refrigeration Institute (AHRI) notes that systems damaged by flooding can put your family at risk.
“AHRI recommends that all inspection and replacement work on flooded equipment be performed by qualified heating and cooling technicians, not by homeowners,” the organization notes.
If your home or business sustained any water intrusion or flooding, follow these three steps:
• Schedule an inspection: Find an experienced, licensed HVAC company. Contractors from all over the country descended upon Southwest Florida after Hurricane Ian. Many are unlicensed, unskilled and only here to make a quick buck. Then they’re gone.
• Check your warranty: Manufacturer’s warranties on HVAC systems and water heaters do not cover damage from flooding, lightning strikes or other natural disasters. However, replacement costs could fall under a homeowner’s or a flood policy. Depending on your policy terms, replacement costs could be reimbursable through FEMA.
• Research available rebates: There often are financial incentives to purchase a new, energy-efficient HVAC system or water heaters. Rebates through the government or utility company help trim costs. Plus, energy-efficient models save on energy bills.
Hurricane Ian’s damage was widespread, but weeks later, homes and businesses are still discovering additional damage. That’s why it is important to schedule an inspection for all mechanical, electrical and plumbing systems that might have been compromised during the storm.
About the Author
Rick Hume, Jr. is President and Co-Owner of Pro-Tec Plumbing & Air, which serves residential and commercial customers in Collier, Lee and Charlotte counties. For more information, please visit PTPflorida.com or call 239-261-1000.