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Expert: Trying To Fix Flood-Damaged Appliances Could Be Fatal

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Hot Water Heater

A hot water heater in a Wheeling home after the flooding last weekend. (Credit: CBS)

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CHICAGO (CBS) — A lot of homeowners are getting the bad news that they’ll have to replace flood-damaged appliances.

As WBBM Newsradio 780’s Mike Krauser reports, it will all amount to a major expense. But it’s cheaper than death.

Do-it-yourselfers might be tempted to take a blow-dryer to the furnace, boiler or hot water heater.

LISTEN: Newsradio 780’s Mike Krauser reports

But for several reasons, that’s a bad idea, says Matt Aldan of Four Seasons Heating and Air Conditioning.

Chief among those reasons are the threat of electrocutions and explosions.

“You’re dealing with electricity,” he said. “Electricity and water do not mix.”

Even though boilers contain water, that doesn’t mean that they’re safe if water seeps into places where it should not, Aldan explained.

“That does go for a boiler, as well, because as soon as any water gets inside the burners, the gas valve, the pilot tubing, anything can happen,” he said. “You always have that risk for explosion.”

The industry rule, Aldan says, is to replace rather than repair.

“As a matter of fact I can quote it here, ‘One homeowner, for example, suffered severe burns in a flash fire when he tried to re-light the pilot on his flooded gas water heater,’” Aldan said.

He says it’s not worth it to risk your life.

Another issue is mold, which has a lot of places to hide and grow inside appliances.

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