What to Do If Your Appliances Get Wet in a Storm

storm damage

Among the numerous potential casualties of storm damage to a home are its electrical appliances. Very few home appliances are waterproof and contact with water usually means at least a repair bill—if not total replacement. Moreover, in the aftermath of storm damage, the indoor environment may present electrical safety hazards related to appliances.

Here are some guidelines to observe before and after storm damage affects household appliances.

Before a Storm

  • If an approaching storm poses potential household flooding danger, unplug as many appliances inside the house as you can before the storm hits. This includes the refrigerator, dishwasher, cooking appliances, washer and dryer, and computers.
  • Turn off HVAC system circuit breakers. Also, shut off power to the outdoor unit of the central A/C at the breaker switch usually located inside a small hinged box on a wall adjacent to the unit.

After a Storm

  • Never step into pooling water in rooms where appliances or extension cords may be plugged in, or electrical outlets are submerged. This poses a severe electrocution hazard.  
  • Don’t turn on appliances that may have been exposed to storm damage, even if the water is no longer evident. Internal components and circuits inside the unit may still be wet and powering it up may damage the appliance irreparably.
  • Have all appliances affected by storm damage inspected by a professional technician before turning them on. This can make the difference between an appliance that is repairable and one that must be discarded due to electrical damage caused by short circuits or other issues inside the unit.
  • For safety reasons, some appliance components require replacement after any contact whatsoever with water. For example, burners in gas furnaces, gas stoves, and gas water heaters, as well as gas control valves.
  • Central air conditioner components in the outdoor condenser unit are generally weatherproof against rain. However, certain electronics may be irreparably damaged if totally submerged by flooding. Before turning on the A/C after storm damage, have it checked out by a qualified HVAC service technician. 

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