To determine whether to repair or replace an appliance after a flood, consider the following factors:
- The amount of water that has come in contact with the appliance.
- The length of time the appliance was in contact with water
- The cost to repair versus replace
- Coverage provided by your home or flood insurance (appliance warranties and protection plans typically do not cover acts of nature, such as flooding.)
First, before entering a home after a flood, be sure that the electricity to the dwelling has been completely shut off.
Before scheduling a repair visit, make sure the house is free of all standing water and the floor and counter top areas have been dry for at least 24 hours. Clean the floor and all surface areas using a disinfectant solution made with a quarter cup of bleach to a gallon of water.
Make sure the appliance has been unplugged and disconnected from all utilities and has completely dried out for at least four to five days.
Appliances should not be operated until they have been checked by qualified service personnel. All electrical contacts, connection, motors and internal wiring should be checked. Never turn on or plug in an appliance before it has been inspected by a professional and deemed safe for use.
If an appliance was completely or partially submerged in water, it’s better to replace the appliance as parts can become damaged by moisture and water leading to corrosion, shock or fire.
Certain appliances like refrigerators, freezers, HVAC central systems, air conditioners, furnaces, boilers, dehumidifiers and air purifiers should always be replaced after a flood due to the dangers posed by bacteria and mold growth.
Microwave ovens should also be replaced as water and moisture can damage internal electronics.
For washers, clothes dryers, ovens, stoves, ranges and dishwashers, they might be salvageable depending on certain conditions. Again, have an appliance technician check the internal wiring and components before operating them.
Flooded appliances also find their way into stores writes Joe Gagnon, the Appliance Doctor, in a column for Observer and Eccentric. “Have them write on your invoice that the dryer was not in a flood,” advises Gagnon if purchasing a second-hand appliance from a store.
If you plan to repair or keep your appliances, apply a rust inhibitor to the metal surfaces of your appliances. Even if your appliance was not underwater, excess moisture in the air can lead to rust.
Also, be sure to clean and disinfect the appliance’s surfaces using a mixture of bleach and water.