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Can Appliances Be Used After a Flood?

If you have experienced water damage to your property from flooding, you may be wondering if your appliances are safe to use and whether any are damaged beyond repair. There are several precautions and factors you have to consider before trying to use or restore your appliances. 

A trusted water damage restoration and repair company like DriRite can help you with the cleanup process and determine if your appliances can be recovered. If you want to learn more about making this decision, read on.

3 Important Precautions

1. Wait for a Pro To Inspect

The number one rule is to avoid turning on your appliances after a flood, even if you think they have air-dried. Appliances can short-circuit or shock you, which can cause serious harm. If there is standing water in a room with appliances, wait for the water to recede before you unplug them. Before reconnecting them to power sources, have a qualified technician thoroughly inspect the appliances.

2. Don’t Turn on the HVAC System

If you turn on the heating or cooling system, it can spread mold throughout the ductwork and your home. Have an HVAC professional that is experienced in mold cleanup inspect the system before you use it. A professional cleaning will remove mold and prevent regrowth. Once your HVAC system is deemed safe, you can turn it on to remove excess moisture from your home.

3. Beware of Mold Inside your Refrigerator and Freezer

If your refrigerator and freezer are still running after a flood, that is a positive sign, but it doesn’t mean these appliances are completely okay to use. If the insulation in your fridge and freezer gets wet and then dries slowly once you turn it on, mold can begin to grow.

If there were only a few inches of water in your kitchen, your fridge may be in the clear because the compressor and condenser are sealed and near the bottom of the fridge while the insulation is higher up. If you have a built-in model, this may not be the case, and the insulation in a chest freezer will likely be wet because it’s closer to the floor.

Additionally, you want to make sure your fridge’s ice maker and water dispenser are safe to use. They are both hooked up to your water line, and if you have been without water or under a boil order, you should replace your fridge’s water filter. You should also throw out your ice, flush the water dispenser for three to five minutes, run the icemaker for an hour, and wash and sanitize the bins.

Related Article: How To Prevent Water Damage From A Burst Washing Machine Hose?

Deciding Factors

A few main factors in whether you can use your appliances after a flood are:

  • The length of time they have been in the water
  • The level of contamination: If water from the flooding could have contained physical, chemical, or biological contaminants, like black water or sewage, you should consider disposing of items it has come into contact with.
  • Safety: Is there a risk of corrosion or clogs causing a short circuit, a fire, or unreliable performance? If so, consider discarding the appliance.
  • The limits of your insurance policy

Other things to consider are warranties, the age of the appliance, and the cost of repairs or replacement. 

Check whether a repair is covered by a warranty and whether the warranty will be voided if you repair it. 

If your appliance is very old, check if there are still replacement parts available. You may want to consider upgrading to an energy-efficient appliance, which can save you money in the long run. You can also see if your city offers rebates for upgrading to Energy Star options. 

Lastly, if the cost of repairing the appliance is close to the cost of the appliance itself, you should consider replacing it, because repairs may not be guaranteed.

What Do I Do With My Appliances After Water Damage?

1. Safety Concerns

If you have experienced flooding and there is standing water on your property, contact your utility company to shut off your electricity.

Don’t venture into any room with standing water and appliances because they may have damaged electrical and gas lines. Because of this, avoid lighting matches, turning on lights or a gas range, or using electronic devices near a water-damaged appliance like a stove. If you smell rotten eggs, gas may be leaking, and all of these things could ignite the gas.

As mentioned above, if the insulation in your refrigerator or freezer has gotten wet, the appliance cannot be saved. If water has gotten into a part of an appliance that you can’t reach or if any electrical equipment has been exposed to salt water, the appliance cannot be saved either.

2. Cleaning

Contaminants and active mold must be cleaned from appliances, and mold spores must be treated. Never mix chlorine bleach with ammonia or acids or use any of them in your HVAC system, as they are corrosive. Use a non-phosphate detergent solution instead to ensure there is no remaining phosphate for mold to feed on. You can also use less corrosive detergents like alcohols, hydrogen peroxide, and quaternary ammonium.

Related Article: Benefits of Hiring a Professional Carpet Cleaning Company

3. Disposal

For appliances that cannot be saved, look into your community’s disaster debris guidelines to find out how to dispose of them. You can do this by monitoring your local media or checking with your area’s Department of Health, Sanitation, or Waste Management.

All large appliances like refrigerators should be taped shut to prevent child entrapment. Hazardous waste must be separated from other waste. Mold, for example, must be bagged, labeled, and disposed of according to local, state, and federal regulations. Large appliances and electronics may also have special rules for disposal, especially after a disaster like flooding.

Contact DriRite for Water Damage Cleanup

Now you can answer the question: can appliances be used after water damage? You also know how to decide whether to keep, repair, or replace your appliances after water damage like a flood. The most important first step is to avoid entering areas that contain appliances and standing water, and the second one is to contact a certified professional to remove the water and inspect your appliances before you consider turning them back on. If you are in need of quality water removal and water damage restoration, contact the team at DriRite today.

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