Can a Furnace Survive a Flood?

Rain falling off of gutter

Ottawa and the surrounding areas had some significant floods last spring. As we approach the spring again, we at Anchor Climate Care know we’ll get calls from concerned customers asking if a furnace can survive a flood. Unfortunately, the answer is that if a furnace has been exposed to flood water, it likely needs to be replaced. 

Let’s discuss why furnaces and other HVAC equipment can’t survive floods, what the safety concerns are (even after the furnace has dried) and when you should call your HVAC professional for advice. 

What Happens if a Furnace Gets Flooded?   

All furnaces have components that can be damaged by exposure to flood water. The circuit board and air intake at the bottom of the furnace are often the first to be affected. As the floodwater rises, more of the furnace is exposed and more parts are ruined. The coils, fans, controls, valves, and many other parts of the furnace may be damaged by water. Just drying them out won’t repair the damage that the water has caused. 

Not only are many parts ruined, but they may also become a safety hazard. Damaged parts may prevent the furnace from properly regulating its fuel or the heat it produces. That’s why you should always have an HVAC professional at least inspect the furnace before you turn it on if it has been exposed to water. 

Why Can’t We Replace Wet Furnace Parts? 

Floodwater isn’t just tap water. It could carry bacteria, viruses, mould, and other contaminants. The last thing you want is your furnace circulating that junk through your home. While you can clean each part, and replace what has been damaged beyond repair, the cost will soon add up. At one point, it becomes more cost-effective for you to buy a new furnace than to replace and clean every part of the unit. 

When you replace a unit, you can also be sure that there is no lingering flood damage that may cause a safety issue. Your new unit will last much longer, and there are steps you can take to protect your new furnace from floodwater so you don’t have to deal with this problem again. 

Repairman looking at furnace

When Should You Call a Professional? 

If your furnace has been exposed to flood water you should call your HVAC technician as soon as possible, and definitely before you turn it back on in the fall. The longer you wait, the larger the risk that parts of the furnace will develop rust or become damaged beyond repair.   

Dealing with Flood Damage? Call Us 

If your basement floods this spring and your furnace is affected, be sure to get the experts involved as soon as possible to limit the damage. For all of your furnace and HVAC maintenance and needs, contact Anchor ClimateCare