In the Hurricane’s Wake: What to do if your appliances are flooded

Few events are as devastating to property and homeowners as flooding. After the waters recede, your appliances may look relatively unharmed. But flooding can cause serious damage to appliances and make them hazardous to operate. Follow these post-flood appliance safety tips from UL’s guide, “After the Storm: Floodwater Safety”, the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the American Red Cross.

If the storm requires you to evacuate, unplug appliances except for refrigerators or freezers before leaving. Turn off gas and electricity if your home is damaged or if you are instructed to do so.
Do not turn on or plug in any appliances after a flood, as doing so could cause an electric shock or fire.
Flooding may cause gas appliances to move or break. Leave immediately if you smell gas or suspect a gas leak. Turn off the gas and leave the door open.
Clean and sanitize all hard surfaces, including countertops, concrete, plumbing fixtures and any portable appliances. This is critical to remove and to prevent mold. Use hot water and dish detergent to clean, and a capful of bleach in a gallon of water to sanitize. Wash your hands with boiled and cooled or sanitized water after cleaning.
Wash any contaminated clothes in a laundromat or machine in a location that hasn’t been flooded if yours hasn’t been inspected, serviced and cleared for use.
If you use a wet-dry vacuum during cleanup, follow all manufacturers’ directions to avoid electric shock.

Be prepared to replace your appliances. While it’s possible that some may be recovered, don’t use them until they’ve been thoroughly inspected by an electrician or qualified technician who can assess whether they’re safe to use.

How to Assess Appliance Safety After Hurricane

Schedule inspections for all water-damaged appliances four to five days after the appliances are dry
Replace refrigerator water filters if you have been without water or under a boil alert
Contact local health authorities for cleaning and remediation guidance for flood-contaminated appliances

“First and foremost, owners should disconnect any flooded or submerged appliance from its power source. Under no circumstances should owners attempt to touch or reconnect the appliance to power until it has been inspected and repaired by a qualified service technician.”
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What should you do with yourflooded appliances and if they can be recovered “First and foremost, owners should disconnect any flooded or submerged appliance from its power source. Under no circumstances should owners attempt to touch or reconnect the appliance to power until it has been inspected and repaired by a qualified service technician.”

Inspections by service technicians, are important because of the potential hazards water damage can cause in electrical products and gas-powered appliances. In particular, dry ocean salt water is an electrical conductor and corrosive. Corrosion of clogged parts can cause a fire, explosion or electrical shock.

Consider these factors when evaluating water-damaged appliances after a major storm:

Disconnect water-damaged products from the electrical power source after the water recedes. Never attempt this in standing water.
Consult your nearest authorized service facility to arrange for an appliance inspection. Schedule the inspection four to five days after the products are dry.
Replace electrical and gas components exposed to salt or brackish water. There are no economically feasible methods to recondition them.
Check with your insurance company to see if they’ll help with replacement costs for your major appliances.
Change your refrigerator water filter if you have been without water or under a boil alert. In addition, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) also recommends throwing out your ice, flushing the dispenser for three to five minutes, running the icemaker for an hour and washing and sanitizing bins.
Check with local health authorities or go to the CDC website at www.CDC.gov for additional decontamination recommendations. Products that are exposed to polluted floodwaters may have been contaminated and require special cleaning instructions.

Article is from AHAM

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