Repairing storm damage to the air conditioner

Calm after the storm: How to service a flooded air conditioning unit

by Ivan Prescott

You probably know that water and electricity don't mix well. If flooding has occurred in your area, the outdoor unit of your air conditioning system may be submerged in storm water. Such pools of water can interfere with internal components and cause damage in many different ways.

After flooding, you'll need to act fast so as to limit the extent of necessary repairs. Here are important servicing steps that you should take as you wait for the professionals to arrive.  

1. Shut off electrical supply to the unit

Stagnant pools of water will damage your blower fan, compressor, motor and other internal components. The problem could become worse if you attempt to turn on a "wet" AC, as electricity may cause short circuits and even pose a safety hazard to the home.

Make sure you disconnect any electrical components from your unit to avoid this from happening. 

2. Give the unit time to dry

After flooding, give your AC enough time to dry before it can be repaired. Unblock any clogged drains and remove debris that may be causing pools of water to accumulate. A dried unit will be easier for your air conditioning repair service to inspect and identify any potential issues.

3. Clean clogged fan blades

Flooding causes large amounts of debris to accumulate inside your air conditioning unit. Leaves, stones, and dirt may end up blocking your fan blades, which makes air circulation difficult to achieve. If you try to turn on the fan with debris inside your unit, the blades may bang against debris and become deformed in the process (and you may have to purchase a new blower fan).

Avoid extensive repairs by cleaning your fan blades as thoroughly as possible. Remove any leaves, twigs and dirt that may have settled inside the unit.

4. Purchase new air filters

After flooding, you're likely to experience dirty air coming out of your ductwork. You can limit this contamination by replacing your air filters. New filters will trap more dirt/debris and minimise discomfort in the home.

5. Call a professional to inspect the compressor 

Cleaning is not the only maintenance step that's necessary after a flood. Before powering up your unit, make sure a professional inspects the internal components for water damage. Your compressor is particularly vulnerable, as it's responsible for transferring warm air out- and cool air into your home.

A professional inspection also ensures that no electrical components will be further damaged by water exposure. Call your local HVAC contractor for air conditioning services near you.