A flooded basement can be one of the most challenging things a homeowner can face. Things become even more difficult when the water is contaminated and deep enough to damage the home's furnace.
Whether you live in a flood-prone area or are concerned about ruptured plumbing, it's important for every homeowner to know how contaminants in flood water can damage their furnaces if their basements ever flood. That way, they can safely and effectively clean out the basement and make repairs to their furnace. Here's what you need to know about problems commonly found in flood water and how your furnace can be damaged.
Where's the Water Coming From?
The number one question you'll have when you realize your basement is flooded is where is the water coming from? While this is important to know, especially if you can turn your water supply off to prevent further flooding, there's another pressing matter to deal with: the possibility of contaminants in the water that can ruin your furnace.
What's In the Water?
It is crucial to figure out what may be in the water because it can a huge difference in how you go about cleaning and repairing your furnace. Here are 4 common problems that are found in basement flood water, and how they can affect your furnace:
- Electrical current. Everybody knows that electricity and water do not mix. Do not touch the water or go near it until you've turned off the electricity to your home, even if you don't think the electrical circuitry was affected by the flood. If your circuit breaker panel is located in the basement, call your electric company or your local fire department. Before power is restored to your home, be sure to disconnect your furnace from the home's power supply if it has not been dried and serviced after the flood. Doing so would be similar to plugging in a hair dryer after it's fallen into a bathtub full of water.
- Sewage. If you smell sewage, do not touch the water at all. Contact a water damage restoration service instead of attempting to take care of the situation yourself. With all the microbial lifeforms and bacteria in sewer water, it's not worth taking the risk. If sewage reaches your heating system, you'll want to be sure to have the system thoroughly cleaned due to the unsanitary nature and corrosive elements of sewage. All the parts that are prone to corrosion should be replaced, as well as soft materials that would be difficult or impossible to clean, such as insulation and filters.
- Chemicals. What types of chemicals could be in the water? Consider what you've stored in your basement, such as cleaning supplies, detergents, and hobby supplies. Containers can get knocked over, which can cause the chemicals and toxins to spill into the water and contaminate it. Caustic substances, such as mildew remover, are corrosive and can damage any metal part in your furnace. It's important to dry out your furnace, but it's also important to wipe down each part to remove the residue from the contaminants. If you don't, the parts of your furnace could eventually rust and cause the furnace to fail.
- Heating fuel. If the water is deep, it could cause your heating fuel storage tank to topple over and spill fuel into the basement. You might be able to smell the fuel, but don't rely on this as a fail-safe method. The consequences of being wrong are too risky due to the explosive nature of fuel. Again, this is an instance when it's better to be safe than sorry and call a heating repair service. Residue from heating fuel should be removed from all parts of the furnace before it can be fired up.
For more information about how to handle flood damage to your furnace, contact a company like Cape Fear Air Conditioning & Heating Co., Inc.