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Table of Contents

Above All, Safety First!

Repair vs. Replace: What to Consider

Products That Might Be Repairable

Products that should be replaced:

  1. Resource Center
  2. Repair

Should You Repair or Replace After a Flood: 6 Things to Consider

6 min readUpdated Apr. 01, 2024Terry MehilosKitchen Appliances
flood cleanup

In the aftermath of a flood, determining whether to repair or replace damaged appliances and systems is a critical decision. With valuable insights from Sears Home Experts, you can navigate this challenging process wisely to make informed choices for your home's restoration.


  • After a flood, never use any flooded appliance without having it inspected and cleaned by a professional to ensure safety.
  • Factors such as the appliance's functionality, age, repair cost compared to replacement cost, and potential long-term effects from flooding should be weighed when deciding whether to repair or replace a flooded appliance.
  • While some appliances like dishwashers, dryers, and microwaves might be repairable depending on the extent of damage, heating and cooling systems, gas water heaters, refrigerators, and small appliances are generally recommended for replacement due to safety concerns and potential contamination.

Because your appliances, electronics and heating and cooling systems are some of the most expensive items in your home, a professional opinion can help you determine what the most cost-effective and safest choices are.

Read these tips from the Sears Home Experts before you decide.

Above All, Safety First!

Floodwaters are notorious for carrying potential hazards that can cause injuries or even be fatal. Always assess possible dangers such as electrical hazards, structural damage, and contaminated water before stepping into your home or starting repairs. If you're unsure about any safety precautions, it's always advisable to seek professional help.
Never plug in or turn on any appliance, large or small, that has been flooded. It must be dried, cleaned and inspected by a professional before it can safely be used again. Only some appliances can be reused after a flood, while others will need to be replaced. The extent of the damage depends on factors such as the depth of the water and the amount of time the appliance was exposed to the water. Only a qualified service technician can determine whether a flooded appliance can be restored to safe functioning.

Repair vs. Replace: What to Consider

Navigating the aftermath of a flood involves making informed decisions about whether to repair or replace damaged appliances. This choice isn’t just about cost; it’s about ensuring the safety, efficiency, and longevity of your home’s essential systems. Let’s explore these considerations in greater detail:

1. Sanitary Safety and Functionality Restoration

  • Health Risks: Floodwaters can introduce bacteria, chemicals, and other hazardous substances into your appliances. It’s crucial to ascertain whether an appliance can be thoroughly cleaned and sanitized. This is particularly important for appliances that come into contact with water or food, where there's a risk of contamination.
  • Professional Cleaning: A professional assessment can determine whether an appliance can be safely and effectively restored to a sanitary condition. Without a thorough cleaning and inspection, using the appliance might pose health risks.

2. Appliance Age and Efficiency

  • Lifespan Consideration: The age of an appliance is a critical factor. Older appliances may be nearing the end of their useful life, making repair less economical. Additionally, they may not be as energy-efficient as newer models, potentially costing more in the long run.
  • Advancements in Technology: Newer appliances come with improved energy efficiency and advanced features. Replacing an old, flood-damaged appliance might offer savings on utility bills and improve your home's overall efficiency.

3. Cost Analysis: Repair vs. Replacement

  • Immediate and Long-Term Costs: Compare the immediate cost of repairs against the price of purchasing a new appliance. Consider not only the upfront cost but also the potential for increased efficiency and the likelihood of needing additional repairs in the future.
  • Warranty and Future Repairs: Factor in the warranty coverage of a new appliance versus the lack of warranty on a repaired one. New appliances come with manufacturer warranties, providing peace of mind and protection against future issues.

4. Long-Term Effects of Flooding

  • Hidden Damage: Flooding can cause hidden damage to appliances, including rust and corrosion that may not be immediately apparent. These issues can lead to premature failure and potentially dangerous situations, such as electrical faults.
  • Future Expenses: Consider the potential for future expenses due to unresolved internal damage. What seems like a cost-effective repair now may lead to more significant, costly repairs or the need for replacement sooner than expected.

5. Insurance Considerations

  • Coverage Options: Your insurance policy may cover the repair or replacement of flood-damaged appliances. Understanding your coverage can help guide your decision and potentially relieve some of the financial burdens. Policy details very, and it's important to check with your provider for specific coverage information.
  • Professional Assessment Requirement: Many insurance companies require a professional assessment to approve a claim. This assessment can also provide valuable insights into whether repair or replacement is the most viable option.

6. The Importance of Professional Inspection

  • Safety and Viability: Before deciding to repair or reuse any flood-damaged appliance, it’s imperative to have it inspected by a qualified appliance technician. This step is crucial for ensuring the appliance is safe to use and determining whether repair is economically and practically viable.

Making the decision to repair or replace appliances after a flood is complex, requiring careful consideration of safety, cost, and long-term implications. A thorough evaluation by professionals, informed by these key considerations, will guide you toward the best decision for your home and family’s wellbeing.

IMPORTANT: Before deciding to reuse any appliance, have it inspected by a qualified appliance technician.

Products That Might Be Repairable

The decision to repair or replace appliances is not always straightforward and can vary significantly based on the extent of the damage each item has sustained. Below is a list of products that, depending on how severely they were affected by floodwaters, might stand a chance at being repaired. These appliances often have components that, if not directly exposed to water or only minimally affected, can be cleaned, repaired, or replaced by professionals to restore functionality. However, it's crucial to approach these possibilities with caution, prioritizing safety and the long-term reliability of the appliance.

  • Dishwashers
  • Dryers
  • Electric water heaters
  • Home electronics, such as televisions, DVD players, and receivers
  • Microwaves
  • Ranges, ovens and cooktops
  • Trash compactors
  • Washers

Products that should be replaced:

Certain appliances warrant a straightforward decision towards replacement rather than repair. The risk of compromising safety and efficiency is significantly higher with these products due to their susceptibility to water damage. The list of appliances below are generally recommended for replacement if they've been exposed to floodwaters. This recommendation is based on the potential for irreversible damage to critical components, the likelihood of contamination that can't be adequately cleaned, and the overall impact on the appliance's safe operation.

  • Heating and cooling products (such as central systems, air conditioners, furnaces, boilers, portable units, dehumidifiers, air purifiers). Heating and cooling products are designed to improve air quality, but can actually lessen air quality if their contaminated with mold, bacteria or other flood-related organisms or contaminants. Also, flood damage can have prolonged, subsequent effects on air conditioning components, causing breakdowns and creating fire hazards.
  • Gas water heaters should be replaced because of damage to non-replaceable components at the base.
  • Refrigerators and freezers have potential exposure to disease-laden water that can't be cleaned from internal air passages, insulation and components.
  • Small appliances, such as hair dryers, toasters, vacuum cleaners, sewing machines and coffee makers, also suffer damage that can't be repaired.

NOTE: Manufacturer warranties, Sears Protection Agreements/Master Protection Agreements and Sears Home Warranties don't cover damage caused by acts of nature, including floods. Contact your homeowners or flood insurance representatives to find out what your coverage and options may be.

Still uncertain? If your appliances have been in a flood, rely on a qualified expert to accurately assess the situation. Sears is here to help.

Schedule your kitchen appliance repair now!

From refrigerators to dishwashers, our experienced technicians are equipped to repair all your kitchen appliances, providing fast and reliable service.

Call (213) 596-2538 or schedule online now.

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