October 2015 brought unprecedented rain and flooding to the Grand Strand, a “once in 500 years” event that affected communities in Myrtle Beach and Conway for weeks as water-levels continued to rise even after the rain stopped. 

In the wake of the devastation, the One SC Fund (formerly SC Flood Relief Fund) was created to help families in the emergency areas bridge the funding gap and rebuild their lives. In fact, the work of rebuilding continues well into 2016, as the effects of the flood include not just structural damage, but also dangerous mold growth.

Water Damage Invites Bacteria and Fungi

As coastal South Carolina prepares for Hurricane Season 2016 (June-November), let’s take a look at how excessive water from storm systems affect your HVAC system and what to do should your HVAC system experience water damage or become submerged in flooding.

After an HVAC system has been submerged in flood water, the system is likely clogged with a large amount of debris. More importantly, your system is now likely to be home to dangerous bacteria and fungi that is difficult to remove. Even parts of your home heating and cooling system not submerged are susceptible to dangerous microorganisms. Excessive moisture from flood waters can causes promote bacterial growth in air supply ducts. While structural damage may be most visible, out-of-sight mold and bacteria in the air pose health risks. It is important that your entire HVAC system is inspected and cleaned by a professional. IF HVAC components are not able to be fully cleaned, it is recommend that they are replaced to prevent the future growth of mold and bacteria.

Inspect, Clean and Disinfect. Replace When Needed.

The CDC and National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health provide some recommendations for cleaning and remediating after water damage:

  • -Remove and replace all system insulation and filters that have come in contact with flood waters
    -Clean all HVAC system surfaces with a HEPA-filtered vacuum cleaner to remove microscopic contaminants
    -Clean and disinfect HVAC surfaces and components with household chlorine bleach in water solution (CDC recommend 1 cup of bleach in 1 gallon of water)
    -Rinse surfaces and components with clean water after disinfecting
    -Remove and clean the system fan (CDC recommends a qualified professional do this) 

Read more recommendations about pre- and post-water damage HVAC care at the CDC website

Need Help? Call Cooper.

Should your home or workplace experience flooding or water damage, Cooper Mechanical Services is here to help. Our certified professionals are on call with 24/7 emergency service to keep you and your family safe.