June 2, 2004 | By: Aimee Heald-Nielson

Recent flooding has left many Kentuckians wondering what to do about their water-logged appliances. In most cases, appliances can’t be salvaged after being covered in polluted flood water.

University of Kentucky Extension Specialist for Family Resource Management Sue Badenhop said one problem is appliances have many hidden wires and parts located inside the outer covering. She said to take extreme care when removing these items from a flooded home since there is still a risk of electrical shock. Many appliances like television sets and radios contain internal parts that store electricity even when the item is unplugged.

“It is almost impossible to decontaminate the appliance and clean it up,” she said. “Another problem is that appliances have metal wires that can get corroded when they get wet and stand in water. The electrical connections might be corroded or even come loose.”

These conditions can render appliances useless or dangerous to operate.

“It just really isn’t safe to reuse an appliance after it has been standing in flood water,” Badenhop emphasized. “If you have a question, ask a licensed or certified appliance repair professional to inspect the appliance before using it. Most of the time, It is better to discard them and purchase new appliances.”

Another thing Badenhop stressed is that many appliances, especially older freezers and refrigerators, have fiberglass insulation. Once the insulation is waterlogged, it is useless. 
In many cases, insurance settlements include the purchase of new appliances to replace those damaged by flooding.

“If you are relying on insurance, talk to your insurance adjuster and make sure the purchase will be covered before you buy new appliances,” Badenhop said. 


Writer: Aimee D. Heald 859-257-4736, ext. 267
Source: Sue Badenhop 859-257-7485