the electrical system and evaluating damage to appliances
are high priorities after a flood. But before your electrical
system is turned on, it should be thoroughly checked for short
circuits by an electrician or other competent person. Ask
your power supplier for advice and assistance.
entering your home after the flood, be sure that the electricity
has been completely shut off. Appliances should not be operated
until they have been thoroughly cleaned and reconditioned.
Running equipment before it is properly cleaned could seriously
damage it and may cause electrical shock.
to do before the electrician arrives:
electricity shut off at both the meter and in the buildings.
When touching switches, stand on a dry board and use a dry
stick or rubber gloves to pull handles.
covers from all switches, convenience outlets, light outlets
and junction boxes that have been under water.
a box is filled with mud, remove the screws that hold the
receptacle or the switch in place. Pull receptacle, switch
and wires out about two inches from box. Clean out all mud
and dirt. Do not remove electrical connections. Leave boxes
open for electrician.
all fuses and covers from entrance panel. Clean out all
mud. Wires can be moved, but do not disconnect. For some
equipment, such as pumps, a temporary line can be installed
by an electrician until the permanent wiring has a chance
are some general rules to follow:
sets and radios. Professional cleaning is recommended for
these types of appliances. There is a danger of shock because
certain internal parts can store electricity even when the
appliance is unplugged. Check the back for a warning label.
Get a cost estimate before repairs to see if the appliance
is worth saving.
appliances. These include the washing machine, dryer, dishwasher
and vacuum cleaner. Professional cleaning of the motor and
other parts is recommended. However, you can clean the exterior
surfaces in the meantime.
Use a heavy-duty cleaner and hot water to remove stains
and silt deposits. Follow up with a rinse solution of
2 tablespoons chlorine bleach to each quart of water.
When removing gritty deposits, rinse your cloth in water
frequently to avoid scratching enamel or metal surfaces.
Clean and disinfect dishwashers, washing machines and
dryers only with water that has been declared safe to
freezers and ovens. These appliances may have foam insulation
and sealed components that suffer little water damage. But
since they hold food, they should be cleaned, disinfected
and checked by a professional or replaced. If replacement
is recommended, get the opinion in writing and discuss it
with your insurance adjuster before money is spent for a
appliances. Disconnect hot water heaters and remove all
panels and any flood-soaked insulation. Have an electrician
or professional repair person clean and restore the unit
to working order.
and lamps. Remove fixtures that were submerged. Clean outlet
boxes, sockets and wiring. Floor or table lamps should be
completely disassembled and cleaned. Damaged cords and plugs
should be replaced. Consider taking lamps to an appliance
shop unless you are familiar with these repairs.
appliances that have been flooded should be properly grounded
to prevent electric shock. Mud or dirt in a grounded outlet
or adapter may prevent the grounding system from working,
and you could be electrocuted. If you are unsure if your electrical
system is properly grounded, call an electrician.
Your county family living agent, your local emergency government office, the American Red Cross, the Federal Emergency Management Agency
"Repairing Your Flooded Home," the American Red Cross/Federal Emergency Management Agency, 1992.
Disclaimer and Reproduction Information: Information in
NASD does not represent NIOSH policy. Information included in
NASD appears by permission of the author and/or copyright holder.