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Hurricane Sandy and Your NYC HVAC System

Hurricane Sandy may have run its course, but your HVAC system is still at risk. As a public service we here at Interstate Air Conditioning and Heating offer these helpful tips for HVAC Maintenance in NYC.

Turn Off the Electricity

It may seem like common sense, but many times the worst mistake many homeowners make is to try and turn their HVAC system on directly after a flood or heavy storm – with disastrous results. Even if your basement level didn’t flood, or had minimal flooding damage your system could be compromised. If you can do so safely, it’s important that you make sure to power down your HVAC system at the main switch, usually a red panel on the unit. Powering down the system from upstairs will not completely shut down your system, which can lead to a power failure or worse, fried circuits. To avoid costly HVAC repair, make sure your system is off.

Inspect the Equipment

Once the threat of electrical overload is averted the next step is to assess the damage. If there is flooding near your HVAC system determine the severity, is the water clear or brackish? Is there a lot of mud or debris on or near your system? Has mold had a chance to set in? These are all things that may indicate internal damage to your HVAC unit and must be addressed. Be sure to record any and all details as you may have to share the information with your HVAC service rep.

Clean the System

Now that you have inspected and recorded any damage to your system the real work begins. Cleaning your system may seem like a job best left for your service rep, but you can make the process easier by doing some of the work yourself. Begin by clearing any large debris, such as roots, branches, mud, and sludge making sure to use the proper safety equipment (gloves, large boots, etc.).
Care must be taken if there is brackish water as this may be a sign of sewage backup. Drain flood waters out of the basement level using a pump system. If the flooding is extensive you may need to bail water manually until a pump can be safely used. When the flooding has been drained off, drying your HVAC system out is next. Fans can be used to speed up the drying process (which can take up to a week). Be sure that your system is completely dry before powering back on as even the slightest bit of moisture can fry the electronics in your system.
Microorganisms such mold, mildew and other harmful bacteria may still linger in your system even after drying. Cleaning and disinfecting your system is critical to keep the air quality of your home healthy and safe. Call your service rep if you have any questions regarding the care and cleaning of your system.
Following these handy tips will keep your air conditioning system strong. For more advice on HVAC systems in NYC, contact your Interstate Air Conditioning Heating service representative right away.