Town Appliance Official Blog
Replacing Appliances After a Fire or Flood: Is it Necessary?
A fire or flood in your home can be a traumatic event and leave many appliances broken and busted. It might be challenging to figure out what you can keep and replace, but knowing the difference can save you time and money. We've put together a guide to help you decide if it's necessary to replace appliances after a fire or flood.
Work To Prevent Electrical Fires From Damaging Appliances
One of the most common causes of fires in a home is an electrical fire. These fires tend to quickly damage your appliances and rapidly spin out of control, potentially consuming your entire house. Luckily, you can prevent many of the circumstances that cause electrical fires.
Be Vigilant in Older Homes
When your wiring is old and outdated, it can be a serious electrical hazard. You need to make sure you have routine inspections done, and the older your home, the sooner you should get it done.
Have Older Wiring Replaced as Soon as Possible
Once you've found old or damaged wiring in your home, you should have an experienced electrician replace it as soon as you can. Older wiring not only doesn't meet modern-day electrical demands, but you're at greater risk of damage, including fraying, tearing, and wearing down.
Watch for Damaged Plugs
Just as old and decaying wiring can make you more susceptible to fire, so can damaged plugs on your appliances. You should periodically check every device to look for broken and mangled pins or scuffed components. Corrupted plugs can spark and overheat outlets as well as shock you, so be careful when you handle them.
Use Surge Protectors
Power surges happen when your electricity's flow is blocked and starts up again. While smaller waves can be harmless, larger ones have the potential to start electrical fires. Consider using surge protectors around your home to plug all your appliances into.
Clear Debris From Outlets and Appliances
Your appliances generate heat, which can cause flammable materials nearby to burst into flames suddenly. Keep outlets and surge protectors clear of debris and keep anything that could burn up away from appliances when you plug them in and turn them on.
When To Replace Fire Damaged Appliances
Once a fire happens and the flames and smoke are safely gone, you should check to see the damage. While fire may noticeably damage many devices beyond repair, leftover soot could cause damage even when appliances seem okay. Soot is a black powdery or flaky material that often covers everything after a fire.
Frequently, you can clean away the dust and soot off your appliances, but if soot or smoke entered through any openings, the exposure could damage the internal components. You’ll likely need an experienced technician to figure out if you can still use fire-damaged appliances or you need to replace them.
Other Factors That Can Determine Damage
Other factors can help you quickly decide if your appliances got marred beyond repair. These include the following:
- Exposed circuitry or wiring on electronics.
- Where devices are in relation to flames.
- Whether they got exposed to significant heat or other potential contaminants like water.
What Should You Do When Your Appliances Get Wet
There's a lot you can do to help prevent damage before and during bad storms. The faster you act, the more likely you are to preserve your valuable appliances and save money in the process. Before practicing any of the following measures, the most important thing to keep in mind is to keep your safety as your number one priority.
Unplug Appliances Before a Storm Even Hits
When you know a terrible thunderstorm, tropical storm, or hurricane is on its way, you should unplug all your major appliances such as your fridge (if you aren't concerned about spoilage), dishwasher, and laundry machines. That's because when lightning strikes a nearby power pole, it can induce a rush of energy to erupt through your power lines.
In North America, everything that plugs into a wall socket is generally designed to consume about 120 volts of energy and can tolerate up to 169 volts. Once lightning strikes and causes a power surge, the voltage that travels down the wires can reach millions of volts, completely frying your appliances.
Avoid Touching Submerged Appliances
When you see a flooded room like a basement, and you haven't yet unplugged appliances such as your washer and dryer, do not go near them. Underwater appliances, electrical cords, and wall outlets pose a severe safety risk, and you need to stay away. Standing water can be electrically charged and electrocute you, which can be potentially fatal.
There's No Standing Water, But You Notice Your Appliances Are Wet
If your appliances are wet but there's no immediate flooding, you should still avoid turning them on for the time being. Water can damage the components inside your machines, including motors and electronic parts. You will need to wait until it completely dries, and then you should consider having a technician take a look.
Returning To Your Home After a Flood
When you need to evacuate your home and finally return, you'll need to assess any damage to your appliances. Your appliances may well have moved somewhat due to the water. You'll need to be especially careful navigating around, as electrical or gas lines may be damaged or displaced.
Furthermore, even when appliances are completely dry, turning them on can cause a short circuit. That's because there's still a possibility there's excess moisture left on internal electrical components. You'll have to watch out when turning devices on, as the rapid surge of electricity can cause bodily harm.
Always Call a Professional
You should avoid handling appliances yourself, especially if you're unsure if they're damaged or safe to use. An experienced technician can accurately assess if you can safely use or repair appliances or if you need to replace them.
Other Factors To Consider
While you should trust a professional's opinion, several other factors can influence whether you choose to repair or replace the appliances. These include the following:
- The longer they're wet, the less likely you'll salvage them.
- Repairs or replacement parts may void your warranty.
- Flood water's corroded components can cause problems in the future.
- Your appliances were already nearing the end of their lifecycle.
We hope this short guide helps you figure out if you need to replace appliances after a fire or flood. When you decide replacements are necessary, Town Appliance is here to help.
Check out our stand-alone refrigerator and freezer options from many high-quality brands. These kitchen appliances offer you incredible flexibility, easy installation, and incredible finishes and door styles. Feel free to contact us with any questions you may have.