When historic flooding hits the mid-Atlantic area, one question that quickly arises is what to do about your Maryland home’s HVAC system. When flood waters begin rise, there are a few things you need to immediately do to protect yourself and your home. While outdoor HVAC units are built to withstand all kinds of elements, it is not designed for submersion in water. If you see flood waters rising on your home’s HVAC system, immediately think safety and shut off power to the unit.

During flooding scenarios, HVAC systems can become submerged in flood waters. When this occurs, a substantial amount of dirt and debris overtake the ducts and system. Unfortunately, this debris may also be contaminated with microorganisms such as bacteria and fungi. Repairing or replacing the system will depend on several factors.

If you have flood insurance, one of your first steps will be to call the insurance agent who handles your flood insurance to file a claim. This will start the process in motion for cleanup and getting your home back to normal. Regardless of insurance coverage status, there are several things you need to know.

After the flood waters have receded, and before you cut power back on to the system, you need to have a thorough inspection from a licensed HVAC contractor who will know what to do about your Maryland home’s HVAC system. It doesn’t take much flood water inside your Maryland home’s air conditioning system to short-circuit and destroy the electrical components. The flood water passing through the system could also dislodge parts and break refrigerant lines. If water manages to get into the compressor, repair is unlikely to be a financially feasible option, thus a system would need to be replaced.

If your home’s HVAC system is repairable or sustained very minor damage, you may not be out of trouble just yet. HVAC duct work that is routed through low areas of the home, like basements or crawl spaces, is typically underwater and will need specialized treatment for health and safety reasons.

Water activates dormant mold spores, leaving toxic mold growth behind inside the air ducts. Professional cleanup is required due to specific cleaning and disinfection procedures to ensure all toxicity is removed. Saturated insulated ducts are presumed to be non-salvageable.

If you find yourself in need of assistance after a flood and don’t know what to do about your Maryland home’s HVAC system, we are here to help and are only a phone call away!


More info:

FEMA: Restoring Mechanical, Electrical, and Plumbing Systems In Non-Substantially Damaged Residential Buildings

Recommendations for the Cleaning and Remediation of Flood-Contaminated HVAC Systems

State of Maryland Fact Sheet: After The Flood