After last week’s superstorm and this week’s nor’easter, those on the East Coast are certainly familiar with unwanted water. But, did you know that flooding is the most frequent severe weather threat and the costliest natural disaster in the United States. Regardless of whether the source is rain, snow or other disaster, it impacts all of us no matter where we live or the time of the year. In fact, flooding occurs every single day somewhere in the world.
According to FEMA, ninety percent of all natural disasters in the U.S. involve some degree of flooding and cost homeowners millions of dollars in damage. And, if you have ever had a flooded basement or other living area then you may not be surprised. As we know, there is little you can do to combat Mother Nature, but there are several things you can do to better protect yourself against the ravages of flooding to your property.
One of the areas most often damaged in homes and businesses by flooding are basements where water can destroy electrical and HVAC systems. While safety from fire and gas leaks are always the first concern, here are some helpful tips for protecting your valuable possessions and critical HVAC systems.
- Water Removal: High-efficiency portable utility pumps are now available for emergency water removal. They are designed as an alternative to gas or diesel powered portable pumps. The affordable pumps can even work from your vehicle’s 12-volt battery. They excel in environments requiring fast, efficient removal of concentrations of standing or floodwater. Visit www.getwaterout.com for more information.
- Water Heating Systems: Whether a water heater uses gas, oil or electricity, if the ignition and/or burner elements were exposed to flood water, the unit should most likely be replaced. Contact a trusted contractor before activating the system. www.ahrinet.org
- Water Proofing: Waterproofing your basement is always a good strategy and adding a sump pump, drainage system, and sealing the perimeter can provide peace of mind. You can learn more by visiting www.bitly/basementtips.
- Furnaces and Boilers: Even if water doesn’t reach your HVAC system, the moisture and dampness can affect the controls, valves and other equipment. Be sure to inspect these system components or call a contractor to inspect them before use. www.naohsm.org
- Heat Pumps and Air Conditioning Systems: If floodwater has repositioned either the indoor or outdoor units of a split system even by a small amount, there is a potential for refrigerant leaks. The decision to repair or replace should be made after consultation with a qualified professional. www.phccweb.org
Although dealing with a flood can be a very traumatic experience, smart homeowners can turn misfortune into opportunity by replacing their damaged HVAC systems with new, energy-efficient products that will lower their energy bills. Check with your local utility company to determine what federal tax credits or state energy rebates are available for installing new, energy-efficient heating and cooling equipment. Visit www.xylemappliedwater.com for information on energy-efficient equipment.
Additional website to have available in case of a natural disaster such as flooding include: