How to Repair Appliances After a Major Flood

Fred's Appliance Academy
January 7, 2020

Almost all appliances carry some risk of flooding or taking on water damage. But, depending on where you do business in the country, you might be called in to take a look at appliances following a major flood or tropical storm. Knowing how to handle both emergency and non-emergency repair calls after bad weather can make you the go-to contact for appliance repair in your town. Every time you get that call, make sure you’re fully prepared to disassemble and restore the appliance.

Here are a few tips to keep in mind.

1. Flood water is dirtier than you see with flooded appliances that malfunctioned.

The difference between ‘my dishwasher flooded’ and ‘my dishwasher was damaged by a flood’ isn’t just the scale. The water itself is different. Flood water picks up debris, including trash, small bits of glass, metal, or plastic, and chemicals. If a machine is salvageable, make sure you take the time to blow out every electrical component with compressed air before reassembling it or turning it back on. That should remove any debris that could block or short fragile electrical parts.

2. Every system needs a comprehensive examination.

After a flood, many people prefer to buy new appliances whenever possible. This is because they view the risk of fire from damaged electrical or gas-powered components to be too high. If you convince a customer that trusts you that an appliance can be restored and it’s worth the time or effort, it’s important to make sure you cover every possibility. Always completely disassemble an appliance. This allows you to:

  • Test each electrical component for shorts or malfunctions
  • Discover debris or damaged and misaligned parts that need to be replaced or repaired
  • Dry out absorbent materials or complex interlocking layers that receive relatively little air exposure
  • Clean the appliances to fully remove traces of lint, food, debris, and contaminants from before or during the flood that pose risks to the appliance

3. Ask about what the machine was during the time of the flood.

If people have to evacuate their homes because of an incoming flood or tropical storm warning, they almost always turn off kitchen and laundry appliances first. Experienced residents in flood plains may also know to unplug the appliances or even turn off the home’s gas or electricity before they leave. But sometimes floods strike suddenly and don’t allow for people to take every precaution. Basement flooding can also damage washers, dryers, and water heaters in the middle or normal operations. Always make sure you ask the appliance owner about whether the device was on or running during the emergency. This can help direct you to play closer attention to the electrical controls or the systems that were in use at the time. While water damage won’t make an appliance completely obsolete, it can short out parts like the motor start switch. 

4. Look for signs of rust.

The exterior panels of appliances, as well as parts designed to come into contact with water, are usually powder coated or painted. This protection reduces the risk of corrosion and rust. But floods can contaminate parts of the machine that shouldn’t be exposed to water. Look for signs of rust or cracks in the protective coatings. This both allows you to try and repair the coating and warn the appliance owner about the damage. While you can still restore the appliance, corrosion does indicate that the life of the appliance will be shorter. Warning appliance owners beforehand allows them to choose between restoration and replacement, and it protects your company’s reputation.

For more tips and a curriculum specifically designed to help new appliance repair companies succeed, head to Fred’s Appliance Academy here.

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