Flood-Damaged Water Heaters and Furnaces Can Explode!

The safety of homeowners can be at risk with flood-damaged furnaces and water heaters. GAMA highly recommends calling in the services of a professional contractor. Here's why...

With so much flooding going on now, furnaces and water heaters may become damaged.  The safety of homeowners can be at risk if these appliances are used. GAMA highly recommends that even the skilled do-it-yourselfers do NOT change out flood damaged equipment, but instead have a licensed contractor do this replacement work. Caution should be excercised by anyone being told that their flooded equipment can be "fixed".

With flooding in a number of states as the result of hurricane weather, it is important to remember that all flood-damaged plumbing, heating, cooling and electrical appliances and related systems should be replaced, rather than repaired. This warning was issued by GAMA, the national trade association representing manufacturers of appliances, components and related products used in space heating and water heating, commercial food service and power generation.

The association also recommended that all work on flooded equipment be performed by a qualified, licensed contractor, not by homeowners.

The GAMA warning stems from past reports of accidents resulting from improper
do-it-yourself repairs of flood-damaged appliances. One homeowner, for example, suffered severe burns in a flash fire that occurred when he tried to re-light the pilot on his flooded gas water heater. The association stresses that not only gas equipment is at risk but also units using oil or electricity as the energy source.

“Controls damaged by floodwaters are extremely dangerous,” notes GAMA
President Evan R. Gaddis. “Attempts to use equipment with defective gas or oil
control devices can result in fires, flashbacks or explosions. And in the case of
electrical appliances, the result can be injury or even death from a powerful electric shock.” The GAMA official noted that devices at risk include water heaters,
furnaces, boilers, room heaters and air conditioners.

The association stresses that the repair of flooded appliances and related systems (including damaged venting and electrical connections) is not a job for the do-it-yourselfer, no matter how skilled. This is particularly true of control valves, according to the GAMA official. These components are manufactured to extremely close tolerances. Once submerged in floodwaters, they must be replaced. Field repairs should never be attempted by the homeowner.

Often these repairs can be covered by homeowner's insurance.


Cyngier owns Cyngier Heating & Air Conditioning and is state-licensed for plumbing and HVAC. For more information or help with flooded water heaters or furnaces, call her at 440-846-2665.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

lyn November 02, 2012 at 11:49 PM
Just curious - What is the connection between a HVAC business and being a doctor (as it states by the authors name)? At the bottom of the article it only promotes her family business and no mention of any other specialty. Is there some kind of PhD degree in plumbing that one can get?
lyn November 03, 2012 at 12:00 AM
Okay, I looked it up - inorganic chemistry (way over my head!)
tom m November 03, 2012 at 01:08 AM
mythbusters (lets blow something up) yes big boom ahead http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9bU-I2ZiML0
Dr. Roseann M. Cyngier November 03, 2012 at 07:54 AM
Hello, John. The emphasis of the article is on safety. In my thirty-one years of being in business, I have occasionally encountered unscrupulous or ignorant persons that don't present or make good choices that cause injuries, hence I cited information directly from GAMA for credibility. Yes, lyn my doctorate is from Case Western Reserve University. I also spent over eight years in research and have patents in areas such as corrosion inhibition and surfactants. As for hats, John, some people have beards or six-pack abs or cute clothes, I enjoy wearing hats. As a matter of fact, that picture was taken in Kentucky this year. Each of us is different. Hope you enjoy what makes you different!
Dr. Roseann M. Cyngier November 03, 2012 at 07:59 AM
John, although I am a business owner, I enjoy blogging on other topics and have a solid following. Check these out for some light reading: http://strongsville.patch.com/blog_posts/surprise-strongsville-marching-mustangs-wow-fans-at-the-browns-stadium http://strongsville.patch.com/blog_posts/noonatics-rock-with-british-invasion-band-hermans-hermits http://strongsville.patch.com/blog_posts/backyard-beauty http://strongsville.patch.com/blog_posts/school-of-rock-open-house-really-rocked


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