With so much flooding going on now, furnaces and water heaters may become damaged. The safety of homeowners can be at risk if these appliances are used. GAMA highly recommends that even the skilled do-it-yourselfers do NOT change out flood damaged equipment, but instead have a licensed contractor do this replacement work. Caution should be excercised by anyone being told that their flooded equipment can be "fixed".
GAMA REMINDER: FLOOD-DAMAGED APPLIANCES SHOULD BE REPLACED
With flooding in a number of states as the result of hurricane weather, it is important to remember that all flood-damaged plumbing, heating, cooling and electrical appliances and related systems should be replaced, rather than repaired. This warning was issued by GAMA, the national trade association representing manufacturers of appliances, components and related products used in space heating and water heating, commercial food service and power generation.
The association also recommended that all work on flooded equipment be performed by a qualified, licensed contractor, not by homeowners.
The GAMA warning stems from past reports of accidents resulting from improper
do-it-yourself repairs of flood-damaged appliances. One homeowner, for example, suffered severe burns in a flash fire that occurred when he tried to re-light the pilot on his flooded gas water heater. The association stresses that not only gas equipment is at risk but also units using oil or electricity as the energy source.
“Controls damaged by floodwaters are extremely dangerous,” notes GAMA
President Evan R. Gaddis. “Attempts to use equipment with defective gas or oil
control devices can result in fires, flashbacks or explosions. And in the case of
electrical appliances, the result can be injury or even death from a powerful electric shock.” The GAMA official noted that devices at risk include water heaters,
furnaces, boilers, room heaters and air conditioners.
The association stresses that the repair of flooded appliances and related systems (including damaged venting and electrical connections) is not a job for the do-it-yourselfer, no matter how skilled. This is particularly true of control valves, according to the GAMA official. These components are manufactured to extremely close tolerances. Once submerged in floodwaters, they must be replaced. Field repairs should never be attempted by the homeowner.
Often these repairs can be covered by homeowner's insurance.
Reference: GAMA News Release 8/30/05 GAMA REMINDS VICTIMS OF HURRICANE KATRINA: FLOOD-DAMAGED APPLIANCES SHOULD BE REPLACED
Cyngier owns Cyngier Heating & Air Conditioning and is state-licensed for plumbing and HVAC. For more information or help with flooded water heaters or furnaces, call her at 440-846-2665.