What To Do With Flood Damaged Appliances
Much has been made of protecting your appliances from flooding, either by elevating them on crates or pallets, or better yet, moving them to a higher floor. Unfortunately, this is either not possible to do or is a step that is overlooked. Appliances are damaged by the thousands every year in flood-related events. So what is the proper course of action after your home has been flooded and your appliances have spent time underwater?
The single best answer is that all flood-damaged plumbing, heating, cooling, and electrical appliances should be replaced, not repaired. It is the single best option with a near-zero risk factor. If work must be performed on these systems, then it should be done by a qualified, licensed contractor, rather than the homeowner.
If this sounds like a rather strict approach, it is only because of the number of accidents and injuries reported as a result of improper or do it yourself repairs. One homeowner suffered serious burns in a flash fire that was the result of his attempt to relight the pilot on a flooded out gas heater. Not just gas, but also units using oil or electricity may put homeowners at risk.
Unit controls that have been damaged by floodwater are extremely dangerous, and any attempt to use them after they have suffered water or flood damage may result in fires or even explosions. Electrical appliances may cause serious electrical shocks. Other devices that are at risk include water heaters, furnaces, boilers, room heaters, and air conditioners.
The repair of electrical units damaged by flooding and other related systems is by no means a job for the do it yourself artist. Even the most handy-men among us should stay away from these types of problems and allow professionals to conduct the work. This is especially true when it comes to control valves, as they are manufactured with very close tolerances, and should be replaced whenever they have been submerged in flood waters.
In some cases, controls may appear to be operative even after the damage has occurred, but it is still unwise to engage the unit. It may work for a period of days or even weeks, but it still may fail, and any component that has been underwater poses a serious hazard.
Due to the serious nature of this sort of damage, and because so many things can and often do go wrong, it is in many cases cheaper and always safer to simply have the unit or units replaced. While valves or controls may be repaired, the damage in other areas may go unnoticed. Acquiring a new unit is the single most effective way to make sure that you are getting a product that poses no safety threats to you or your family.