Flooded Basement - Is it possible to salvage my appliances?

roguebabeAugust 28, 2007

We had a tornado touch down last week during thunderstorms. Lightning knocked out a transformer and our power went out. At the time we didn't have a generator so the sump pump stopped working and at one point we had almost 3 ft of water in the basement. We borrowed a generator and dropped a sump pump in front of the stairs. The next afternoon we bought a larger generator, opened a basement window and plugged in our sump pump. We ran both pumps until the water was removed and have been running fans in the basement. Our furnace required some repair and our hot water heater checked out fine. Our question is this, what can we do, if anything, to salvage our chest freezer and our very expensive Neptune Washer and Dryer? We had a smaller amount of water last winter due to a non functioning sump pump and our appliances survived that, just by leaving them alone for about a week to dry out. We did not have flood insurance so if we can't salvage these items we'll have to go without them and that won't be easy. We are still running fans when we are home and our heating a/c guy set our dehumidifier as well. Is there anything else we can do? We would appreciate any help. Thanks in advance.

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it really depends. if the circuits boards themselves did not get wet, then you may be okay. i would call a local appliance repair place and see, since you will have to totally disassemble the units. anytime anything electric/electronic is wet, IMMEDIATELY remove ALL power from it and let it dry thoroughly. boards can be cleaned off with pinesol and then rinse THOROUGHLY with distilled water. let them dry for a couple days before you test them out. but since they were underwater, who knows if they are worth teh risk or not.

BTW, i hav eto say you should either GET flood insurance or MOVE the expensive stuff out of the flood area. i will always pay extra to get flood insurance, i learned this a few years back after losing a $55,000 transmitter to a flash flood.

    Bookmark   August 28, 2007 at 12:49PM
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Open any electronics imedeately and dry them. Better to keep them wet if you can't do it imedeately. If it is muddy water I would take a hose to them and wash them as best you can. They are already wet more water won't hurt them.
Anything mechanical (bearing, gear boxes, motor bushings, etc) should be checked, drained, relubed etc.
You may have decreased their lifespan but I would certain attempt to use them before trashing them. They might last only a month before you find serious problems.

    Bookmark   August 28, 2007 at 1:48PM
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A water problem caused by a non working sump pump would not be a flood claim normally. Its a separate endorsement on our policy. We also have an endorsement to cover if a hose comes off a washer and the lower level floods as well. Water coming in from the inside is a different kind of problem than water coming in from the outside.

FWIW after the big freeze Iowa had earlier this year when our power went out for five days we bought a battery powered sump pump. I sat by the sump pump bailing water into a large garbage can while DH braved the ice storm to go to the city to buy it.

    Bookmark   August 29, 2007 at 6:26AM
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Ask about your washer / dryer on the Laundry Forum - there are some techs there and people who luvvvvvvv washers & dryers and repair! Very, very helpful people - sorry for your mess.

    Bookmark   August 29, 2007 at 8:17AM
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Molly Brown

Don't know about your appliances, but we had 3-4 feet of water in basement during the Patriots day storm in New England. We were gone that week on vacation and didn't find the problem til we got back. Lost everything in the cellar due to the oil tank breaking apart at the connection and oil spilled everywhere as well.
Apparently there was no electricity for 2 days, so our sump pump didn't work. Insurance was denied because it was a flood, called surface or ground water.(No flood OUTSIDE of the house, tho) Since we don't live in a flood zone, we don't qualify for flood insurance. I asked the Insurance agent what SHOULD we have done so that we would have been covered. She said there was nothing we could've/should've done! $13,000 it cost us, thank you very much! Paying one insurance company for 30 years...they don't care.

    Bookmark   August 29, 2007 at 10:29PM
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elenkao, anyone CAN BUY flood insurance. not being in a flood zone just makes it cheaper. your agent may not offer it, but i bet you someone does.

    Bookmark   August 31, 2007 at 10:37AM
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but wont flood insurance only cover a natural flood like excessive rain or a river flood, or maybe even a backup from a a municipal sewer system overloaded during a storm? Sump pumps are typically to control ground water infiltration. the problem here is a power outage so your homeowners may cover it. You can always talk to them and see.

    Bookmark   September 1, 2007 at 3:03PM
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Molly Brown

The insurance company knows we had a power outage, no dice. Ground water and/or surface water is not covered. Sooo depressing. If a tree fell and punched a hole in the house and water came in that way, it would be covered. Seems to me, THAT would cost them much more. I just don't get it.

    Bookmark   September 4, 2007 at 10:44AM
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gee. from my past work in the PCB manufacturing world. if the circuit board got wet. wash and dry them before applying power. they'll be just fine. we used to wash all our PCB in a dishwasher with Colgate.. if you put power to the board before they were clean and dry..well ..you might be SOL..

good luck


    Bookmark   September 5, 2007 at 10:16PM
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Molly Brown

I guess I'm not with it....What is PCB and SOL? Thanks

    Bookmark   September 6, 2007 at 10:11AM
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P? component board and shi* out of luck.

    Bookmark   September 6, 2007 at 10:48AM
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PCB = Printed Circuit Board
SOL = S**T Out of Luck

    Bookmark   September 8, 2007 at 11:45AM
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In laws had 10 inches inside their house. All their appliances were ruined, except the stove.

    Bookmark   September 24, 2007 at 10:41AM
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AS long as power is NOT applied circuit boards will rarely be damaged by water.
We clean them in commercial dishwashers since using a vapor phase degreaser is not allowed anymore (ozone depleting 1,1,1 trichlor).
If there is mud or junk behind after they dry, wash them again in clean water and rinse with rubbing alcohol.
Bearings on motors are the big victims, and many cannot easily be replaced or lubricated.
Use the motor till the bearing fails and then replace it.

    Bookmark   September 25, 2007 at 5:52PM
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A $55,000 transmitter in your basement?

Now what, exactly, is that?

    Bookmark   October 18, 2007 at 1:30PM
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