Appliances can be ruined rapidly when exposed to water damage from a flood or other natural disaster. The severity of the damage mainly extends to whether or not mold or sewage found its way into the appliance. Other impacts include which components of the appliance were forced underwater and how long they were submerged.
In the interest of dependability and safety, even if the equipment dries out completely it may still need to be replaced to operate properly again in the future. However, the following precautions should be taken while evaluating the situation.
Be Cautious of Leaking Gas Lines
Though a homeowner’s initial thought may be to assess the severity of the damage, this may not be safe as appliances can shift and may cause harm to gas or electrical lines. This can be highly dangerous.
A homeowner can recognize that their gas lines may be damaged if they recognize an odor that resembles rotten eggs. If this occurs, the home should be vacated immediately and it is best to call 911.
Turn Off the Electricity
If standing water is found in the home and the electricity is still running, the utility company should be notified immediately to have the power shut off. Homeowners should also avoid turning on lights, light open flames by means of a gas range or by lighting candles, and operating electronic devices, as these could cause the leaking gas to start a fire.
Have a Professional Examine the Damage
“Many homeowners don’t know how to proceed in the situation and turn on appliances after leaving them to air-dry. This should be avoided at all costs as someone could be shocked if there is any wetness remaining in the unit,” explained John Stahfest, owner of a refrigerator repair service in Tacoma.
The best course of action to take if appliances have been flooded in any manner is to wait and see if the water moves out of the area and then unplug the power cords. This should never be performed while one is standing in any amount of water. Appliances should not be plugged back in until a professional has inspected them.
Avoid Turning on Heating or Cooling Equipment
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has noted that mold could be spread throughout the home if HVAC systems are turned after re-entering an area that was previously submerged under water. Mold growth can be prevented with a heavy-duty cleaning. Once the HVAC unit has been evaluated and is safe, it can help with moisture removal.
Be Wary of a Refrigerator’s Water and Icemaker
The refrigerator’s water and icemaker are attached to the water line, which means that the water filter in the refrigerator will need to be changed. Also, be sure to dispose of any ice that was made in the unit. The dispenser should be rinsed for 3-5 minutes, the icemaker should run for a period of one hour, and the bins within the unit should be sanitized.