As North America recovers from Hurricane Matthew, the first priority will be ensuring the safety of people in the affected areas. Next, emergency workers will need to restore critical infrastructure such as power and telecommunications. Individually, affected people will need to assess the damage to their homes or offices.
You may find that your heating, cooling, or plumbing systems have been affected by the storm. We’ve written this short guide to help you safely restore these systems to full operation.
How to Identify Potential Problems
Before approaching, ensure that all utilities are shut down in the vicinity of the equipment. Also, be aware of any downed power lines in your area. As you approach the equipment, carefully inspect for any visual signs of danger. If you suspect water, wind, or other damage to any mechanical equipment, do not restart it until it has been inspected by a professional. Signs of water damage include puddles on the floor; wet spots on or near the equipment; dirt, silt, or other foreign substances near the equipment; and mold. Wind or other elements can also cause physical damage to the equipment.
If none of these symptoms are present, but the equipment fails to work properly, do not attempt to troubleshoot the problem yourself.
Steps To Take If You Suspect Damage
If you already have a contractor, have them come out, inspect, and start up the equipment if it’s safe to do so. If you do not have a contractor, the following resources may help you find a qualified professional:
Friends and Family Recommendations
ACCA (Air Conditioning Contractors of America)
PHCC (Plumbing Heating Cooling Contractors Association)
NATE (North American Technician Excellence)
Note: We do not endorse any specific organization or contractor and cannot be responsible for the quality of results.
If Damage Is Discovered
If your unit has suffered water damage, it will likely require substantial replacement of parts to restore it to safe operating condition. Be aware that storm damage to equipment is not covered by manufacturer warranties. We suggest you contact your insurance provider to inquire about compensation for damage.
Even after parts are replaced, there is a real risk that the reliability and efficiency of the unit have been permanently compromised. For this reason, most manufacturers and expert organizations such as the AHRI (Air Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration Institute) recommend complete replacement of water-damaged equipment.
Check Out These Resources About Hurricane & Flood Recovery.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Hurricane and Flood Recovery
Purdue.edu Flood Damage & Large Electrical Appliances
Purdue.edu Information about Insurance