Wildfire on Big Fall Creek Road in Oregon. Smoke and ash are just as damaging to HVAC systems as flames. Wildfires along Big Fall Creek Road, Lowell, Oregon. (Photo: Marcus Kauffman/CC BY 4.0)

After one California wildfire had subsided, the resulting smoke and ash took a toll on an HVAC system located in a home miles away. Soot had coated the condensing unit, the onsite inspection revealed, and it entered the indoor equipment and ductwork. While the diagnosis may seem like damage is extensive, adjusters should know this didn’t require a full system replacement — and neither will many of the claims with HVAC systems damaged by the onslaught of wildfires this year.

In 2019, approximately 48% of the HVAC systems that the insurance services company HVACi inspected for smoke and fire damage could be returned to pre-loss condition with a repair or were in proper working condition at the time of inspection.

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