How hurricanes can affect HVAC systems: common claims & repairs
Hurricanes are one of the most devastating natural disasters that can occur. They can cause significant damage to residential homes and commercial buildings, including essential HVAC systems. The HVAC system is integral to any home or business, providing comfort and safety through heating and cooling. Hurricanes can cause damage to the HVAC system, leading to expensive repairs or replacements. In this article, we will discuss how hurricanes can affect an HVAC system and the common claims and repairs associated with them.
One of the most significant dangers associated with hurricanes is flooding. Floodwaters can cause significant damage to the HVAC system. If the floodwaters reach the HVAC system, it can cause damage to the electrical components and the compressor.
Floodwaters can also damage the ductwork, leading to air leaks and reduced efficiency. In some cases, the entire HVAC system may need to be replaced. A thorough on-site diagnostic evaluation should be performed to determine the extent of damage from potential flooding, as well as whether repair or full replacement is required.
Flooding occurs in every U.S. state and territory, and is a threat experienced anywhere in the world that receives rain. - NOAA National Severe Storms Laboratory
Winds and Flying Debris
Strong winds and flying debris can also cause damage to the HVAC system during a hurricane. Debris such as tree limbs, branches, and other objects can damage the outdoor unit of the HVAC system.
If the outdoor unit is damaged, it can affect the performance and efficiency of the HVAC system. Additionally, strong winds can cause the outdoor unit to shift, leading to air leaks and reduced efficiency.
An HVAC system with suspected damages from wind and flying debris should be properly investigated prior to making a repair or replacement decision.
Hurricanes can cause power outages, which can also affect the HVAC system. If the power goes out, the HVAC system may shut down, leading to discomfort and potentially dangerous living conditions. Power outages can also damage the HVAC system if a power surge occurs when the power is restored.
A power surge from a hurricane can cause surge-related degradation to key electrical components, including the compressor. A comprehensive diagnostic evaluation is essential when investigating an HVAC system with claimed hurricane-related power surge damage.
Nine in ten major outages in the US have been caused by hurricanes - Nature.com
Alemazkoor, N., Rachunok, B., Chavas, D. R., Staid, A., Louhghalam, A., Nateghi, R., & Tootkaboni, M. (2020). Hurricane-induced power outage risk under climate change is primarily driven by the uncertainty in projections of future hurricane frequency. Scientific Reports, 10(1), 1-9. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-020-72207-z
Common Claims and Repairs
Several common claims and repairs are associated with hurricanes and HVAC systems. A thorough on-site damage assessment of the HVAC system is the best way to determine the exact cause and extent of damage, and just as importantly, the cost to restore the insured's property to pre-loss condition.
1. Flood damage If floodwaters damage the HVAC system, it can cause electrical damage, compressor damage, and ductwork damage. If the damage is severe, the entire system may need to be replaced.
2. Debris damage Debris can damage the outdoor unit of the HVAC system, leading to reduced efficiency and performance. The damaged parts may need to be repaired or replaced.
3. Power surge damage If a power surge occurs when the power is restored after an outage, it can damage the electrical components of the HVAC system. The damaged parts may need to be repaired or replaced.
4. Air leaks Strong winds can cause the outdoor unit to shift, leading to air leaks and reduced efficiency. The ductwork may need to be repaired or replaced.
5. Electrical damage Floodwaters and power surges can cause electrical damage to the HVAC system. The damaged parts may need to be repaired or replaced.
Hurricanes can cause significant damage to an HVAC system, leading to expensive repairs or in some cases, full replacement. Flood damage, debris damage, power surge damage, air leaks, and electrical damage are common claims associated with hurricanes and HVAC systems.
A thorough on-site inspection of an HVAC system with claimed hurricane-related damages is essential to determine the exact cause or causes of loss, as well as the best course of action in terms of repairing or replacing the system and restoring the property to pre-loss condition.
Need assistance with an HVAC claim? Reach out to a Zap Consulting expert, today.