To assist companies and individuals who store, install, and operate mechanical systems in areas that have been involved with flooding, the following recommendations have been prepared by the Air Conditioning Contractors of America (ACCA), the Heating, Air-Conditioning, and Refrigeration Distributors International (HARDI), and the Air Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration Institute (AHRI).
What to do with Warehoused Equipment at Contractor or Distributor Office Location
• Contractors and Distributors may have un-opened HVAC equipment in their businesses that does appear to be directly affected by flood emergencies. However, you should NOT attempt to operate or test any mechanical equipment or electrical systems that have been exposed to flood waters.
o The exterior of your equipment and systems may appear normal, but there may be residual moisture within, or around, these systems and equipment.
o Systems may contain microorganisms, such as bacteria and fungi that may grow in areas with residual moisture.
• When flooding recedes, equipment may still contain water, silt, or other contaminants that are not immediately visible.
o Your equipment could be PERMANTENTLY damaged if you attempt to start it without proper cleaning and preparation.
• Call your local distributor or manufacturer representative for advice on what to do with equipment that you have in storage, which may have been in contact with flood waters
o It is possible that there could equipment shortages and manufacturers may recommend that contractors and distributors attempt to clean and restore equipment.
o Insert Manufacturer Phone Numbers
• If you have been advised to clean and restore your warehoused equipment, you should follow the industry’s standard – ACCA Standard 6 – Restoring the Cleanliness of HVAC Systems for Residential and Commercial HVAC Applications.
o ACCA Standard 6 is available for free download from – http://www.acca.org/standards/quality
o The 27 page document describes cleaning methods and procedures that focus on improving the overall indoor air quality, existing equipment life, and safeguarding the building through
comprehensive restoration practices. This Standard also provides direction to assess the economic viability of replacing HVAC components or systems versus cleaning them.
Best Practices for Contractors Working with Customers in Flood Areas:
• BE PROACTIVE: In the event of a widespread emergency, contractors are encouraged to immediately reach out to their customer base, particularly those with maintenance/service agreements or customers who you have had recent interactions with
o There is a good chance that contractors will have up to date records on these buildings detailing the type of equipment that said buildings contain, which should give contractors an
approximation of how much equipment their existing customers may need
o Next, contractors should reach out to their distributors to determine equipment availabilities and relay that information as quickly as possible to your customers who believe may be in an area
that was in a heavily flooded area
• Communicate with consumers about the effects that flood waters have on HVAC equipment and systems, paying particular attention to the following areas:
o Consumers should NEVER start their HVAC system before a professional contracting company has surveyed the equipment
o Flooded equipment may contain residual water, silt, bacteria, and fungi that may cause damage to the system or damage the indoor air quality if not remediated
o Any equipment that contains steel is prone to rusting and needs to be replaced
o If any electrical connections were flooded then they need to be replaced
o These are VERY GOOD subjects to post on social media for consumers
• Contractors should also warn consumers about the potential for unscrupulous actors who may take advantage of a natural disaster
o Remind consumers that it is essential to hire a trusted company who is trained on proper HVAC equipment cleaning and remediation protocols, like the ACCA Standard 6.
• Contractors should keep their eye on the ball and maintain their quality reputation
o In widespread disasters, contractors may be overly eager and take on too much work… DO NOT DO THIS!
o Contractors should maintain the quality contracting practices that have earned them a reputation as a trusted company
o Contractors should take advantage of the opportunity to remind consumers that they will install equipment properly, refusing to rush a job.
o A rushed job is likely to lead to multiple call backs
• While a natural disaster is certainly not something that contractors wish for, there may be additional business opportunities available
o Be respectful, not aggressive, when dealing with consumers who may view a disaster as an opportunity to undertake new projects in their home or building
o If the opportunity presents itself, contractors should respectfully inform the consumer that they have recently expanded their business offerings to include certain services they may be
interested in: plumbing and electrical upgrades, home security, etc.
• Contractors are HIGHLY encourage to add additional phone lines or reimburse staff for their personal cellular phones to ensure that consumers have access to timely information from experts
o Superior customer service is of utmost importance in these situations.
o Be available, be respectful, and be an expert.