Assessing property damage is on the minds of many. Water-damaged appliances from storms and flooding are among the items homeowners are beginning to evaluate. Do not use electrical appliances that have been wet without first following the service and other precautions recommended below. “We have received calls from consumers affected by the recent storms asking what they should do with their flooded appliances and if they can be recovered,” says Steve Freeman, manager of the Technical Assistance Group for GE Appliances. “We’re telling them as a first step to disconnect any flooded or submerged product from its power source and not to touch it or reconnect it until it has been inspected and repaired by a qualified service technician.” Inspections by service technicians, Freeman says, are important because of the potential hazards water damage can cause in electrical products. In particular, dry ocean salt water is an electrical conductor. It is also corrosive, which can lead to additional risk of electrocution. Water can also damage and corrode gas components. Topping the checklists appliance service teams are sharing:
- 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.
- 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.
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