Furnaces And Water Damage? What To Do After A Flood

Did your basement or utility room flood? Water can damage more than floorboards, carpeting, and furniture. Wild weather can also cause problems for furnaces. Take a look at what you need to know about floods, water damage, and residential heating repair services.

Move Away From the Heater

Stay away from the heater and the surrounding area. While it's tempting to dry off the heater, your water-logged HVAC system is a serious safety hazard. Water combined with the electricity needed to power this system poses a shock risk. If the fuse box or main circuit breaker is in a safe area that hasn't flooded, turn off the power. You may need to turn off the power to the entire house—especially if you don't know which fuse or circuit controls the furnace. Along with the electricity, you may also need to close the natural gas valve (if your furnace uses this type of fuel).

Call a Professional

A flooded furnace is not an HVAC appliance you can easily repair. A do-it-yourself fix may seem like a money-saving idea. But this approach could put you, your family, or your home at risk. Instead of inspecting or attempting to repair the heater, contact a qualified HVAC contractor as soon as possible. The contractor will assess the damage and help to restore heat to your home in a safe way. 

Choose a Replacement

A heater is a complex system with sophisticated mechanical and electrical components. These components are not made to get wet. Water can permanently damage your home's HVAC system. Even though the heater may eventually feel dry on the outside, the internal parts may hold some of the remaining moisture. The longer the water sits on or in the furnace, the more damage it can cause. Metal components and controls can rust, corrode, or warp. 

Even though you weren't expecting to invest in a new heater, a post-flood purchase can:

  • Save you money over time. Home heating system use can account for 29 percent of a household's utility bill, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. If your flooded furnace is older, a new purchase is an efficient option that will use less energy.

  • Increase home comfort. A new heater will do more than decrease energy usage (and the resulting bills). It can also keep your home warmer than an older model. 

  • Make your home safer. A post-flood furnace isn't safe to use. Not only can corroded components impact the ability to effectively use the heater, but this issue can also pose a home fire or safety hazard.

Before you select a new replacement furnace, talk to the HVAC contractor. This professional can help you to choose the best option for your home's heating and energy needs.