Home Appliance Safety After a Flood
Some appliances can still be used after being in a flood while others need to be replaced. Factors such as the depth of the water and the amount of time the appliance was exposed to the water make a big difference between an appliance that can still be used and one that can’t. Only a qualified appliance service technician can determine whether a flooded appliance can be repaired or needs to be replaced. Here are some tips for dealing with appliances that have been in a flood.
Never plug in or turn on any appliance, large or small, that has been touched by flood waters. Make sure the appliance is dry, clean and, ideally, inspected by a professional before plugging it in or turning it on. Warranties and protection agreements don’t cover damage caused by acts of nature, including floods. Contact your homeowner’s or flood insurance provider regarding anything damaged by a flood, including appliances. Any gas line or valve that comes into contact with flood water must be replaced; ongoing corrosion can cause gas explosions days, months or years after exposure to flood water.
Repair or Replace?
Here are some things to consider when deciding if an appliance can be repaired or needs to be replaced after a flood:
- If the appliance still works, will it be sanitary enough to safely use?
- What is the age of the appliance?
- How does the repair cost compare to the replacement cost?
- Are there long-term effects from the flood? For example, internal rust and corrosion may be unseen but can lead to expensive repairs in the future.
- If you have insurance, contact your insurance agent to see what options you have.
Tips for Specific Appliances
Refrigerators and Freezers: Refrigerators and freezers should be replaced due to potential exposure to disease-laden water that can’t be cleaned out of internal air passages, insulation and components.
Washing Machines: Washers may be repairable, depending on the extent of the damage.*
Clothes Dryers: Dryers may be repairable, depending on the extent of the damage.* If gas components are exposed to flood water, they must be replaced.
Ranges: Ranges may be repairable, depending on the extent of the damage.* If the insulation has been exposed to flood water, it needs to be replaced, however. If gas components are exposed to flood water, they must be replaced.
Microwaves: Microwave ovens should be replaced due to damage to electronics.
Dishwashers: Dishwashers may be repairable, depending on the extent of the damage.*
Home Electronics: TVs, DVD players, receivers, etc., may be repairable, depending on the extent of the damage.*
Trash Compactors: Trash Compactors may be repairable, depending on the extent of the damage.*
Electric Water Heaters: Electric water heaters should be replaced due to exposure of the insulation to flood water.
HVAC: Central Systems, air conditioners, furnaces, boilers, portable units, dehumidifiers, air purifiers, etc., should be replaced because the equipment deals with air quality. Mold, bacteria and other growth caused by flooding can lead to health issues.
Gas Water Heaters: Gas water heaters should be replaced due to damage to non-replaceable components at the base, as well as exposure of the insulation to flood water.
Small Appliances: Hair dryers, toasters, vacuum cleaners, sewing machines, coffee makers, etc., should be replaced.
*Call a qualified service technician to determine whether your appliance can be repaired or not.