If your yard is flooded after a heavy rain, you may be relieved the water didn't get inside your house. However, you don't want to forget about the air conditioning unit sitting outside. Fortunately, an AC unit can usually withstand a few inches of flooded water, but several inches could cause serious harm. Here's what to do when your AC has been flooded and steps that might prevent it from happening again.
What To Do About A Flooded AC
When you see water rising in your yard near the AC, it's a good idea to kill the power to the unit. The danger with a wet condenser unit is with the electrical system, and turning off the power might help prevent damage. Once the water subsides, you'll be able to tell from the water line what parts of the condenser were under the water. If there is plenty of clearance between the water line and the electronics, then your AC may have been spared damage. If the electrical components were submerged, then avoid using your AC until an air conditioning repair service has had a chance to check it out and repair the electrical system.
Even if you see the electrical system didn't get wet, you may still want to call a repair service to clean and check the condenser. When the water level dropped, it probably left behind dirt and debris inside the cage and in the fins. This has to be cleaned out before your AC can be used again. Plus, the parts should be checked for safety reasons and to determine if the flood will shorten their lifespan. If flooding caused damage, you want to know about it right away so you can file an insurance claim if you're covered.
How To Minimize The Risk Of Flooding
It may not be possible to eliminate the risk of flooding since you can't control nature. However, you may want to protect your AC as best as you can. If flooding is a frequent threat, you may want to talk to your HVAC professional about raising the condenser on legs or putting it on an elevated slab if it isn't on one now. If you raise the condenser a few inches, the water might not rise high enough to cause damage when it floods. You should also make sure the land slopes away from the condenser so rain won't drain toward it.
Depending on your yard, you may even need to install a small retaining wall to help control how water flows in your yard so the AC stays dry. At the very least, you might try using sandbags during a heavy rainstorm to keep water out of the unit. Cover the AC with a plastic tarp and surround it with sandbags. Just be sure you turn the HVAC off since you don't want to run the air conditioning with the airflow blocked by the tarp.
For more information, contact a company that offers air conditioner repair services.