Most homeowners think of water damage as flooding during a storm or a burst water pipe in your home. But did you know that household appliances also carry the risk of water damage? Appliances damage can come from your washing machine, dishwasher, ice maker, refrigerator, water heater, or air conditioner. How do you spot leaking appliances, and what should you do about them?
This guide will help you navigate water damage and restoration from leaking appliances.
How To Identify Leaking Appliances
Suppose your appliances are brand new and installed correctly. In that case, all connections to water, such as feed and drain pipes, should be watertight. But if you have faulty installation or old appliances, here are a few things to check for water damage:
- Worn hoses
- Faulty pipe connections
- Water pooling on the floor around the appliance
- Dripping noises
- Damp or mold smell
As soon as you spot these signs of leaking appliances, take the steps below to minimize appliance damage and save your home.
Step 1: Turn Off the Appliances
If the leaking appliance is your refrigerator, HVAC, or water heater, unplug or switch it off completely. The last thing you want is for the leaking water to reach the electrical supply.
Step 2: Turn Off the Water Supply
If the leaking appliance is your dishwasher or washing machine, turn off the water main to cut off the supply. This is the best way to move the device without flooding your house.
Step 3: Remove the Moisture
Drain the supply pipes into a bucket or sink, and clean the leaked water from the walls, floor, and appliances. Next, check the surrounding areas for water damage, such as warped floor panels, peeling paint, mold, and mildew.
Step 4: Call the Experts
Contact a qualified appliance servicing company to inspect your leaking appliances. You may discover that you only need to replace a few parts to stop the leaking. Check your warranty and homeowners insurance for options if you need to replace your damaged appliances completely.
You may also need a professional restoration company to inspect the water damage in your walls, floors, and pipes. Only a professional damage restoration company like NYTDR will fix the damage and guarantee no more leaks for decades to come.
What About Water Damaged Appliances from Flooding?
Appliances springing a leak is one thing; flood damage is another. No homeowner wants to come home to the loss and devastation of a storm or hurricane. The first thing to know is that even if your home looks intact after flooding, there’s still significant risk lurking beyond your sight. For example, gas and electrical lines can shift, mold takes hold inside your appliances, structural damage to your property, and more. So how do you handle appliance damage after a flood?
1. Don’t Turn Your Appliances On
Instinct tells us to turn on our appliances to see if they’re still running. But after a flood, this is extremely risky. Don’t switch the lights, flick a match or lighter, plug in your appliances, or turn on the HVAC. Instead, call your utility companies to turn off the power, water, and gas. You want to minimize the chances of fire and electrocution.
Note: Your HVAC needs extra precaution because it can quickly spread mold into your home. Even if it remains intact after a flood, don’t turn it on until it’s professionally inspected and cleaned.
2. Get A Professional Appliances Damage Inspection
Instinct also tells us that if the appliances dry out, they’re still functional. But unless a professional water damage expert inspects them, you can never know the true extent of the damage. Whether your appliances survive a flood depends on:
- Which components get submerged or exposed to water
- How long they were in contact with water
- Whether the water gets contaminated with sewage or mold
Without this information, you can short-circuit your appliances or electrocute yourself.
3. Check for Mold in Your Fridge and Freezer
Regarding your refrigerator and chest freezer, the insulation may get exposed to water damage during a flood. Unfortunately, insulation dries out slowly and becomes susceptible to mold. Again, only a professional appliances damage expert can determine if your fridge and freezer are safe to use.
4. How To Prevent Appliances Damage
Water damage from leaking appliances is easily preventable with a few precautions:
HVAC Water Damage:
- Add a float switch to keep your HVAC drain pan from overflowing.
- Insulate your ductwork properly.
- Check the refrigerant every few months.
- Clean your air filter every few months.
Washing Machine Water Damage:
- Install a flood sensor to automatically shut off the water supply and alert you if there’s water under the washing machine.
- Install a drip tray under the machine to catch and drain excess water.
- Install a single lever or automatic shutoff valve to turn off the equipment if it leaks.
Dishwasher Water Damage:
- Check the kick plate for dampness or dripping water while the dishwasher is on.
- Check the water pipes, drain hoses, valves, and seals for wear and tear when the dishwasher is off.
- Check the gasket around the dishwasher door for damage, dirt, or dryness.
- Unclog the dishwasher drain and clean the drain basket.
Refrigerator Water Damage:
- Install a water alarm behind the fridge to sense leaks and drips.
- Adjust the legs or add shims to ensure your fridge sits level on the floor.
- Clean the drain tubes to remove dirt or clogs.
- Tighten any loose pipes leading to your ice maker.
- Replace plastic ice maker pipes with a stainless steel braided pipe.
Note: As a general precaution, do a self-check home inspection twice a year and a professional home inspection every three to five years. Make a habit of inspecting your home to help you quickly identify and prevent damage.
Call NYTDR When You Need Professional Water Damage Restoration
The above tips can go a long way to prevent water damage from leaking appliances, but they’re not 100% foolproof. You may go away on vacation or travel for work, only to come home and find water damage from your appliances. In that case, you need New York Total Damage Restoration (NYTDR) to restore your home and appliances. We handle all our restoration projects in three key steps:
- Free insurance management: We assess your water damage and work with your insurance company to cover the restoration cost.
- Planning and design: Whether you want a small portion of flooring redone or a complete home facelift, we help you plan out the space of your dreams.
- On-site restoration: Our tried-and-true project scheduling system ensures that your repair happens fast, efficiently, and within budget.
Appliances damage can wreak havoc in your home, but NYTDR can help you as soon as the damage occurs. In addition to water damage from leaking appliances, NYTDR also handles:
- Asbestos and lead damage in old homes and buildings
- Fire damage to rescue and restore your belongings and remove soot and smoke.
- Mold damage to protect your health and keep your home free of spores.
- Construction and remodeling to designing your perfect home.
Get in Touch with NYTDR Today
Leaking appliances, floods, burst pipes–NYTDR knows precisely what to do. So if you notice water pooling underneath your washing machine or dishwasher, or see significant water damage on your floors, ceiling, and walls, contact NYTDR today. We’re available 24/7 at 212-206-1300 to restore your home after water damage.