HVAC, Whatever That Is

Three and a half months ago I had no idea what HVAC meant. For those who are in my boat, the acronym stands for a very prevalent part of your house: Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning. So maybe you know nothing about HVAC systems, but you know you want one. Dave Lyman of SERVPRO had an informative article earlier this year in “The Goal Digger.” Check it out:

HVAC systems, when directly contacted by Category 1 water, can cease to operate, or they can function inefficiently or spread excess humidity throughout both affected and unaffected areas of a structure. If contacted directly by Category 2 or 3 water, they can spread contamination to unaffected areas. Even if an HVAC system is not directly contacted by water, when operating, it can spread humidity or contamination from affected to unaffected areas. Further, microbial growth from other causes can be carried to the interior of HVAC system components where it can accumulate and degrade HVAC component operation.

Since HVAC systems circulate the air that workers and occupants breathe when the system is operating both during and after restoration, it is a critical component in the overall water damage restoration plan. Category 1 water should be drained or vacuumed thoroughly from HVAC ductwork, systems and mechanical components as so as practical. Once excess water has been removed, the system should be thoroughly dried. Mechanical and other system components should be evaluated, and cleaned, as necessary, following NADCA ACR 2006 standards, or similar industry standards. System components should be evaluated for operational safety, repaired if necessary, and place back into operation by a licensed HVAC contractor.

In losses where Category 2 or 3 water has directly entered HVAC systems, especially where internal insulation fiberboard ducting is present, it might not be possible or practical to disassemble, clean and completely decontaminate HVAC ductwork, systems and possibly even mechanical components. In these situations, restorers should contain, disassemble and remove affected HVAC system components, and plan for replacing the system after structural restoration and remediation has been completed.

Before you panic and think, “I don’t even know what the categories are, no less how to do all this,” let me assure you that you don’t have to. That’s where we come in. We frequently see customers attempt to clean up after water damages, not realizing what level of involvement is necessary. When it’s not just a house, but a home and not just a water damage, but damaged health, call a professional. Call SERVPRO.

Image Credit: http://airconditionerfortlauderdale.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/06/HVAC-Fort-Lauderdale.jpg

Sandy Hayden

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