Today, we're talking about the impact of air conditioners when it comes to flood insurance rates. How can air conditioners cool off your flood insurance premiums or how can air conditioners heat up your flood insurance premiums is what we're going to discuss today. When it comes to air conditioners, they can cause huge headaches when it comes to flood insurance especially in areas that are low lying like Montgomery, Alabama, Birmingham, Alabama, Des Moines, Iowa, and Atlanta, Georgia.

Whenever an air conditioner sits below the lowest adjacent grade or maybe it sits below a home outside, then many times this air conditioner can be below the base flood elevation, which is the level that FEMA believes flooding will come to before it becomes into a historic flooding area, so many times air conditioners can cause major issues when it comes to flood insurance. So, what we're going to talk about today is some things you can do to offset this.

So, when it comes to air conditioners, you always want to make sure that they're adjacent to the lowest adjacent part of your property and by that, we mean the lowest lying floor that will be considered the first-rated floor for your flood insurance. So, if you have an above-grade crawl space, then you want to make sure that air conditioner is above the crawl space area, because you will not have to count that crawl space area as your first-room floor if you have flood vents.

The reason for this is part of FEMA's requirement is they will count the lowest rate of floor or they'll count the flood zone, wherever the lowest service machinery equipment like a furnace, a water heater, or an air conditioner are located. That's why many situations by simply raising your air conditioner six inches to a foot might impact your flood insurance rates by over $1,000. Same thing on a furnace or same thing on a water heater.

These are very important things to understand, especially when you're dealing with above-grade crawl spaces and an air conditioner sitting outside. Now, this is one way where it could cool off your premiums, by getting them lowered by simply raising the air conditioner or maybe you're building a home. You want to make sure that the air conditioner sits at that same level as the rest of the house and it doesn't sit below it, because it might put your property into a high-risk flood zone, because that air conditioner is sitting below the base flood elevation, but the rest of the house isn't.

This could also prevent you from getting your flood zone changed if you're trying to go through that process, so when it comes to air conditioners and furnaces and water heaters or any servicing equipment, you want to be very cautious about where these are positioned and that's why we always recommend raising them at least six inches to a foot.

Sometimes, you may have to raise them a few feet if you're in coastal areas like Fort Myers, Florida, Panama City or Pensacola, Florida to prevent yourself from tidal wave flooding taking out air conditioners and keeping everything above the base flood elevation. They have different requirements in coastal areas, so if you've got questions about how maybe your air conditioner is impacting your flood insurance rates or you want to learn how to raise the air conditioner to maybe get your flood zone changed or get your flood insurance premiums lowered, please reach out to us.

Go to our website floodinsuranceguru.com. You can check out our Facebook page and like it or subscribe to our YouTube channel, The Flood Insurance Guru where we do daily flood education videos. You can also click the link below to learn more about how we could help you use these servicing equipment to benefit your flood insurance rates. 

Chris Greene

Author

Chris Greene

President of The Flood Insurance Guru
M.S. in Emergency Management with a focus in Flood Mitigation
flood@communityfirstagency.com