The outdoor portion of your air conditioning unit is designed for all types of weather conditions, including heavy rain. However, even the toughest air conditioning system isn't designed to resist long-term flooding or being submerged. Fortunately, just because your unit was flooded doesn't mean that you'll need expensive repairs or a replacement. Here are some things you should know about flooding and your outdoor air conditioning unit, and what to do before and after a storm.
Possible Damage From Flooding
Electrical components, while they are designed to withstand being outside and getting wet, can short out if submerged underwater. Water can also damage the motor and cause corrosion for all metal parts, especially if you have an older system with worn seals. Flooding can also bring other contaminants into the unit, including dirt. The damage may be worse if the unit was running when it became flooded. The longer your unit was underwater, the more likely it is to have problems later on.
There are things you can do to prepare your system before a storm. You can use sandbags or other barriers to keep water from entering the unit. You can also build a permanent barrier around the system if your area suffers from frequent flooding. It is also a good idea to remove any loose dirt or debris around the unit. One thing you don't want to do, however, is to cover your unit with a tarp or plastic bags, as this could restrict air and moisture flow and slow the drying process.
After the Storm Checks
After the storm, do a visual check of your unit to make sure there aren't any clogged vents or damage from other debris. Clear out and drain any puddles around and on top of the unit. Generally, it's not a good idea to restart the system until it has been inspected if it's been submerged. Instead, turn off the breaker to that unit if you can, or deactivate any automatic controls so the unit doesn't start up on its own. Even if the unit looks fine, it's a good idea to have the unit inspected, cleaned, and restarted by an air conditioning services professional.
If you are not sure about how to check over your unit or your unit if your doesn't work as well as it used to before a storm, then call an air conditioning repair person to check out your system. Any time your air conditioning unit isn't working properly, whether it's been flooded or not, have a professional heating, air, and ventilation contractor check it out.