Before we start today’s discussion, we’d like to extend our deepest sympathies and show support to all those communities affected by the devastations caused by Hurricane Irma and Hurricane Harvey.

Natural disasters; they strike unexpected and cause live and property damages beyond the extent of our wildest imaginations.

Take a look at the recent unfortunate series of events that affected Texas and Florida. Hurricane Harvey turned into Topical Storm Harvey and left thousands stranded in catastrophic and life-threatening floods. Hurricane Irma has its own devastative tales to tell.

As a water heater supplier and service company, we have our own associative tales to share, every time any such natural calamity strikes.

We are talking about the storm-induced damages to commercially installed water heaters, and those installed at homes.

During storms, area flooding is a common problem. These flood waters, in severe cases, can enter a building and cause structural damages to water heaters, specifically to those installed in the basement.

Moreover, the mains can also become contaminated with storm water. If this contaminated water can enter into a water heater, the severity of damage can increase multifold.

Once the situation subsides, two questions spring in our minds:

  1. Is it safe to re-use the flood damaged water heater?

  2. If there is any repair work that needs to be carried out, how to proceed with safe inspection?

Flood Damaged Water Heater – Is It Safe for Reuse?

This depends on the depths of flooding. Different depth levels have different implications. If the water heater had been submerged in the flood waters, it is not salvageable.

GAMA and Rheem Manufacturing, two of the biggest manufacturers of water heating solutions, warn against the re-use of submerged water heater, citing fires, explosions and flashbacks as their reasons for concern.

If the water heater wasn’t submerged, it might be deemed safe for reuse—something which can only be confirmed after running a thorough inspection process and executing the necessary repairs.

Checking for the Repairs—The Safe Way!

Before heading to check out for repairs, it is important that you wear rubber protective gloves and boots. This would prevent you from coming into contact of electric current, running through the exposed wires, especially if you have a tank model or tankless electric water heater installed in your building.

Also, shut off the power and fuel supply connected with your water heater.

Step #1: Close Off the Mains Valve

This will ensure that your water heater is not affected by any potential contamination from the mains. The supply valve is located on the water heater’s cold line inlet.

Step #2: Drain Off Your Water Heater

Next, drain off the water heater to eliminate any waste that has been accumulated in it. Be wary, draining the water heater does not mean that you have eliminated sources of pathogens, odors and mold. They could well be residing in the insulation lining of your water heater.

If possible, remove the insulation as well. However, since it’s a difficult process, it’s better to get the job done by a professional.

Step #3: Inspect the Body

Next, inspect the body and look for any signs of physical damages. Your water heater may have experienced rust, dent, and in some cases even a casing rip-off from some corners. If the extent of structural damage is too severe, call in a water heater repair company.

Step #4: Thoroughly Inspect the Heat Source and the Combustion Chamber

You need to be absolutely sure that your heat source is safe to be re-lit and the combustion chamber is free of any structural damages. Exercised ignorance can cause the water heater to explode on re-ignition.

Step #5: Check the Venting System

Check the piping and fixtures of the venting system to make sure that they are still intact.

By now, you have established a fair idea of whether your water heater is safe for use. Call in a service company to get a quote and further inspect any minors that you may have left unaddressed.

Need Professional Help?

We are here. The team of Miami Water Heater can thoroughly inspect your water heater for any storm induced damages and execute the necessary repairs to make your water heater safe for re-use. We also stock high quality tankless water heater gas parts, so that all your water heater maintenance and repair needs can be addressed under one roof. Contact us to schedule an appointment.