What to do with household appliances in the event of a flood?
There really is no safe way to rehabilitate a dishwasher, range/stove/oven, fridge, freezer, dishwasher or washer and dryer that has been completely submerged under dirty flood waters. While it is obvious that a house that needs to be replaced will also need new appliances, the subject gets less black and white when it comes to minor flooding. There are several factors to take into consideration when you are trying to decide if you can salvage your household appliances or if you must replace them. For example, the length of time the appliance was exposed to water, the extent of the flooding, as well as insurance coverage and provincial or federal relief programs.
If your freezer has been submerged, even briefly, to the point that the insulation has gotten wet, the freezer is not salvageable. Wet insulation is ruined insulation. A freezer exposed to a couple of inches of water may be fine, but if there is any doubt it is best to call in a licensed appliance technician.
Much like a freezer, a fridge can tolerate a bit of flood water, but a compressor exposed to water will need to be replaced. If the insulation has gotten wet the fridge is ruined. If you are not sure whether or not your fridge is salvageable it is best to call a licensed appliance technician to look at it.
A range/oven/stove may be salvageable after flooding but any controls that have gotten wet need to be replaced. In gas stoves the pilot orifice and any valves in contact with water will need to be replaced. Again, wet insulation is ruined insulation. Electrical systems (also used in gas ranges) when exposed to water can result in electrical shock or fire. Even if your range/stove/oven is completely dry and appears to be in good working order it is best to have it checked out by a licensed appliance technician.
Washer & Dryer
As is the case with other household appliances, a washer or dryer that has been exposed to flood water can cause electrical shock or fire. If electrical contacts and connections have gotten wet they need to be replaced by a licensed appliance technician.
A dishwasher that has been exposed to flood water can also cause electrical shock or fire. Electrical components will need to be replaced by a licensed appliance technician.
The Bottom Line
While theoretically it is possible for almost any appliance to be repaired after a minor flood, it is very often an impractical undertaking after any substantial flooding. Replacement is usually the least expensive and safest option. Once appliances have been exposed to water, working parts are more prone to corrosion and the life span of the appliance is greatly reduced.
Please note, when it comes to flooding, it is important to contact your appliance manufacturer and proceed as they advise, particularly if your appliance is under warranty.
Should you find yourself having any concerns about the state of your appliances after a flood, Gord’s Appliance is available to assess and service almost all makes and models of ranges, dishwashers, fridges, stoves, washers and dryers.