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Replace, don’t repair, air conditioners flooded by Hurricane Ian

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. The cause was 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.

Property owners have thrown many damaged appliances to the curb. However, damage to air conditioning 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.

Hurricane Ian: Your Next Steps

If your home or business sustained any water intrusion or flooding, follow these three steps:

  • Schedule an inspection: Find an experienced, licensed air conditioning 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 air conditioning systems and water heaters do not cover damage from natural disasters. That includes flooding, lightning strikes and high winds. 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 air conditioners 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 as soon as possible. Inspectors determine if mechanical, electrical and plumbing systems might have been compromised during the storm.

Want an experienced, certified technician to visit your business or home after Hurricane Ian?

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