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Total Air: Blog

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What Happens to the HVAC System When You Have a Flood?


Today we got a call from an El Paso homeowner asking us what precautions, if any, need to be taken with the HVAC system because their furnace closet took on water during the weekend’s flash flooding due to monsoon rains. Here is what we suggest and is supported by the Air Conditioning, Heating and Refrigeration Institute (AHRI):

Gas Furnaces
If floodwaters have reached a gas appliance, then you should have the unit checked immediately. Natural gas furnaces have gas valves and controls that are dangerously affected by water penetration and may not be easy to detect. Corrosion builds after water has entered a unit even if the outside of the device is clean and dry. At a minimum, this damage can result in reliability problems of your furnace.

Electric Furnaces
An electric furnace consists of electrically heated coils, a fan to provide air circulation across the coils, and controls which include safety relays. Just like the gas furnace, the electric furnace is susceptible to corrosion and damage, resulting in reliability problems or safety hazards. If there is any question whether floodwater has reached an electric furnace, we recommend that you have the unit checked.

This is a great example of why a preventive maintenance contract is so valuable! Total Air’s fall maintenance provides a safety check up on the furnace and looks for issues that may affect the operation BEFORE you have to use it. A typical fall maintenance check-up includes the following.

  • Check all connections, gas pressure, burner combustion and heat exchanger. Improperly operating gas connections are a fire hazard and can contribute to health problems. A dirty burner or cracked heat exchanger causes improper burner operation. Either can cause the equipment to operate less safely and efficiently.
  • Check thermostat settings to ensure the cooling and heating system keeps you comfortable when you are home and saves energy while you are away.
  • Tighten all electrical connections and measure voltage and current on motors. Faulty electrical connections can cause unsafe operation of your system and reduce the life of major components.
  • Lubricate moving parts. Parts that lack lubrication cause friction in motors and increase the amount of electricity you use.
  • Check and inspect the condensate drain. A plugged drain can cause water damage in the house and affect indoor humidity levels.
  • Check controls of the system to ensure proper and safe operation. Check the starting cycle of the equipment to assure the system starts, operates, and shuts off properly.
  • Check for carbon monoxide leaks. This safety check has to be the most important reason to have a yearly check up of the heating system!

Contact Total Air if you feel your heating system is vulnerable due to the recent monsoon rains and flooding in El Paso and Las Cruces. We’ll come out immediately and provide you with any necessary repairs or at the very least, peace of mind, that it is running safely and efficiently. Visit Total Air at or call 915-585-0909.


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