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Table of Contents

Can Appliances Be Used After a Flood?

Precautions to Take with Water-Damaged Appliances

What Should I Do When My Appliances Get Wet?

Frequently Asked Questions About Appliances After Water Damage

Let the Sears Home Services Experts Inspect Your Appliances

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What Appliances Can Be Saved After a Flood?

6 min readUpdated Mar. 08, 2024Terry MehilosKitchen Appliances
wet appliances

Once flood waters have receded, the fate of your appliances hangs in the balance. With insights from Sears Home Experts, you can navigate the daunting task of assessing water damage to washers, dryers, fridges, HVAC systems, and more. From preventive measures before the storm to post-flood cleanup, discover essential tips to guide you through safeguarding and salvaging your appliances for a smoother recovery process.

KEY TAKEAWAYS

  • Never use flooded appliances without professional inspection, as floodwaters can compromise electrical components and pose serious safety risks.
  • Exercise caution by disconnecting appliances from power sources, avoiding running them, and seeking professional assessment to prevent further damage and ensure safety.
  • Depending on factors like time, warranty, corrosion, and age, some appliances may be salvageable with repairs (e.g., dishwashers, washers) while others (e.g., gas water heaters, HVAC units) may need replacement.

How to prevent — and deal with — water damage to your washer, dryer, fridge, HVAC and other appliances.

Hurricanes, tornadoes, thunderstorms, floods — storm season is the time of year when Mother Nature can unleash her fury. As you batten down the hatches, what should you do with your appliances to help minimize damage? And once you’ve made it through the storm safely, it’s time to take stock of the damage. Are your appliances wet or standing in water? Then what? We’ve put together some tips to help homeowner’s navigate their way through their flooded home.

Can Appliances Be Used After a Flood?

Appliances, electrical equipment, and HVAC (Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning) systems should not be used immediately after a flood due to significant safety and operational concerns. Floodwaters can compromise the electrical components, motors, and internal mechanisms of these systems, leading to potential hazards such as short circuits, electrical fires, and malfunctioning parts. Before considering their use, it is crucial to have a qualified technician thoroughly inspect and assess the extent of water damage. Attempting to use flood-damaged appliances and HVAC systems without proper evaluation can pose serious risks to occupants, property, and further exacerbate the damage.

If the flooding was minimal, it may be possible to salvage some appliances. A qualified technician will be able to determine if the appliance can be safely repaired, and if so, the estimated cost of the repair versus replacement.

Precautions to Take with Water-Damaged Appliances

When dealing with water-damaged appliances, it is imperative to exercise caution to ensure safety and prevent further damage. If your appliances are still sitting in any water and power to the home is still on, have the utility company turn the power off. Don’t attempt to unplug an appliance that’s still in contact with water. If floodwater submerged electrical outlets, you’ll need to contact an electrician to assess the damage.

Once the water recedes, disconnect the appliances from the power source. To avoid further damaged, don’t try to run the appliance. Consult the manufacturer's guidelines or seek professional assistance from a repair tech to assess the extent of damage and determine if the appliances are salvageable. Prioritizing safety and professional expertise is paramount when addressing water-damaged appliances.

What Should I Do When My Appliances Get Wet?

Once it is safe to do so, addressing wet appliances promptly is crucial to ensure sanitation and prevent mold and mildew growth. After your appliances have been disconnected from their power sources, thoroughly dry each appliance using absorbent towels or cloths, paying close attention to crevices and components where moisture can accumulate. Wipe down surfaces with a mixture of mild detergent and water to sanitize and remove any potential contaminants.

Ensure proper ventilation in the area by opening windows and using fans, but remember to avoid turning on the HVAC system until it has been professionally inspected. Running the HVAC system prematurely could inadvertently spread mold spores throughout your home, potentially exacerbating the situation. By following these steps, you're not only safeguarding your appliances but also creating a healthier and mold-resistant environment for your home.

Frequently Asked Questions About Appliances After Water Damage

Here are six of your biggest questions, answered.

1. Should I unplug my appliances before the storm hits?

You know what they say about an ounce of prevention. If a storm is on its way and there is a threat of flooding, it’s a good idea to unplug your fridge, dishwasher, washer and dryer, and cooking appliances. Unplugging them helps you avoid facing a room flooded with electrically charged water if the worst happens. (If you can, unplug your computer and phone, too, to protect them against a power surge.)

2. My basement is flooded, and I didn’t unplug my washer and dryer. Now they’re sitting in water. Should I unplug them?

No. If appliances are still plugged in and those appliances, electric cords or even outlets are submerged, you have a very dangerous situation on your hands. The electricity can charge the standing water, and you could be electrocuted.

3. There isn’t any standing water, but my appliances have gotten wet. Are they safe to use?

It’s tempting to fire up the washer and dryer after a storm if you have wet clothes, linens or other washables, but don’t do it. Water—even clean water—can damage the inner workings of the appliance, including the motor. Call a qualified service and repair expert to assess the damage.

4. Can I salvage and repair appliances that have been damaged in a flood, or should I replace them?

An appliance technician can tell you for sure if you can repair damaged appliances, but the decision to repair or replace depends on several factors, including the following.

  • Time: The longer they’re wet, the less likely they can be salvaged.
  • Warranty: Repairs or replacement parts might void it.
  • Corrosion: Floodwater is dirty, and dirt can corrode certain parts of appliances. Even if the machines are safe to use, you might find problems down the road.
  • Age: If your appliances are reaching their golden years anyway, it’s probably best to replace them. Repairs might cost as much or more as buying new, especially if your insurance is covering part of the replacement cost.

Travis Robertson, quality and process improvement manager for Sears Home Services, offers these guidelines for when to repair and when to replace specific appliances.

  • Repair: Dishwashers, washers and dryers, ranges, microwaves, home electronics, trash compactors and electric water heaters may all be repairable, depending on the extent of the damage.
  • Replace: Gas water heaters, small appliances, HVAC units, fridges and freezers will likely need to be replaced.

5. If the damage isn’t too extensive and I choose to repair my appliances, what should I make sure to have done?

Replace motors, electrical components, safety controls and gas valves if needed. Replace wet controls on ranges, ovens and cooktops. In addition, have your service technician check the electrical contacts and connections on your washer and dryer for water damage.

6. What about my HVAC system?

Call in an expert to assess the situation and give you a diagnosis. You’ll likely need to replace—not repair—your home’s HVAC system if it's been damaged by water. Water corrodes, and corrosion can lead to safety reliability problems with your furnace, water heater and AC systems, gas and electric alike.

Let the Sears Home Services Experts Inspect Your Appliances

If you’ve experienced flooding in your home, trust the experts at Sears Home Services to fully assess damage to your appliances and HVAC system. With more than 70 years of experience helping homeowners with their home needs, we can help. Our technicians will thoroughly inspect your appliances and HVAC system to determine the extent of the water damage and advice on the proper course of action. Schedule an appointment today.

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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