After a Flood: Should You Repair or Replace?

By Terry Mehilos | Sep. 08, 2017 10:27 am PST

flood cleanup

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

After a major flood, the difficult work of cleanup is fraught with decisions about what items are salvageable and what must be replaced. 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.

Above All, Safety First!

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

  • If the appliance’s functionality can be restored, will it be sanitary enough to safely use?
  • How old is the appliance?
  • How does the cost of repair compare to the cost of replacement?
  • Are there long-term effects from the flooding? For example, internal rust and corrosion may be unseen but could lead to expensive repairs in the future.
  • If you have insurance, contact your insurance agent to see what options are available to you.

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

Products that might be able to be repaired, depending on the extent of damage:

  • 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:

  • 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.

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