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Serving Chester County & Surrounding Areas


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Signature HVAC Blog

Flooded Basement and Water Heater Damage


Extreme weather and flooding in basements have become recent problems along the East Coast. People are looking to invest in sump pumps to protect their homes and stop the damage that comes with flooding.

But there’s a flooding topic that we haven’t heard as much about—and it’s an important one. Most homes in the area with basements have the water heater located there. A flooded basement puts the water heater in jeopardy so that it’s necessary to have a water heater replacement in West Chester in the wake of a flood. 

Below, we’re going to look more at flooded basements and what it means for water heaters.

Is a Flooded Water Heater Safe to Use?

Let’s start with safety, the most important issue. Your basement has flooded and that water heater was partially submerged. Should you attempt to use it?

The answer is no. This is because you should never attempt to use any flood-damaged appliances. The water heater is one of the most powerful appliances in your home, and in fact may use more energy per year than any other appliance. Attempting to use a flooded water heater presents the same danger as trying to use a flooded electrical appliance. 

Please don’t try to make an assessment of a flooded water heater to see if “maybe” it’s okay to use. A flooded appliance may outwardly appear to be working, but water damage can often take a period of time to emerge. This creates fire hazards and gas combustion dangers. 

Something to keep in mind: flood damage isn’t just superficial “water damage.” It’s far more widespread and insidious than just the outside of the water heater getting damp. Flood damage can cause many things to go wrong, and often these problems remain hidden because they infiltrated deep into an appliance or a service. 

What to Do About a Flooded Water Heater

We won’t pull our punches here or try to sound like there might be other options: if your water heater was flooded, you must replace it. This isn’t only our recommendation—this comes from the top water heater manufacturers. Here’s what Rheem, one of the largest manufacturers of water heaters, advises for a flooded water heater:

If your water heater(s), gas or electric, has been submerged in water, DO NOT ATTEMPT to repair, install, or operate the product. Due to the conductivity of water along with its corrosive properties all the operational controls are rendered unsafe. As for the insulation properties of the product, it would have become saturated with water which cannot be removed resulting in exterior corrosion and failure of the product. 

The affected water heater(s) should be removed, made unusable, and replaced with a new unit.

Other manufacturers offer similar advice: don’t use, don’t repair, don’t rebuild, just get it replaced.

And you’ll need professionals to handle that replacement. As you might have gleaned from the concerns mentioned above, any work involved with a flooded water heater can be hazardous. You’ll need the experts to ensure the safe removal of the old unit and its replacement with a new, undamaged water heater.

Call Signature HVAC for Signature Service You Can Trust!

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