If my water heater was in a flood, do I need to replace it?
The The Air-Conditioning, Heating and Refrigeration Institute (AHRI) recommends that any flood-damaged water heaters should be replaced, not repaired.
From the AHRI website, as it pertains to water heaters:
A house or basement exposed to standing water can damage your home’s water heater. After a flood, homeowners are advised to take important safety precautions with regard to their home’s heating and cooling system.
- Do not use this appliance if any part has been under water.
- Whether your water heater is gas-fired, oil-fired, or electric, if it was exposed to flood water, the unit should be replaced.
- In a gas unit, valves and controls will likely corrode.
- In an electric unit, the thermostat and controls will likely corrode.
- In both types, the insulation surrounding the unit will be contaminated and will be nearly impossible to disinfect.
- Additionally, the insulation will take a long time to dry completely and may lead to corrosion of the tank from the outside.
- All inspection and replacement work on flooded equipment should be performed by qualified contractors, not by homeowners. You can turn misfortune into opportunity by considering new, energy-efficient models that will lower your future energy bills.
- At the time of your new water heater’s installation, be sure that the Temperature and Pressure Relief Valve is new as well. Using a Temperature and Pressures Relief Valve that was subject to flood water is not advisable.
- Prior to connecting the gas supply line to a gas fired water heater, ensure that the gas supply line does not have moisture/water or dirt/scale inside the gas line. Commonly this check is done at the lowest point in the gas distribution system prior to gas burning appliances.
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