Provide Flood Protection for Appliances


Make Resilient Upgrades | Strengthen Your Home • Floods | Hurricanes

Why does it matter?

It can flood anywhere it can rain, so it’s important to protect your major appliances from any water that could enter your home. Even if your appliances are in the garage or exterior portions of the home, you can protect them by simply elevating them above the expected levels of flood waters.

What do I need to know?

  • Just a few inches of water can permanently damage many appliances.
  • Flood water is not clean water.
  • Several hours of inundation can permanently affect the internal components of items such as washers, dryers, furnaces, and air conditioning equipment.
  • Appliances that may need protection from flood water include:
    • Washers & Dryers
    • HVAC equipment
    • Water heaters
    • Electrical panels and electrical service components, such as switches and receptacles
    • Telephone, computer, and communications equipment

Where do I start?

Interior items

  • Determine what the potential flood water elevation is for your area by finding your flood zone and Base Flood Elevation (BFE).
  • Elevated appliances, such as those in the list above, by at least one foot above the expected flood level.
  • Items can be elevated on masonry or platforms made from other flood-resistant materials, such as pressure-treated lumber graded for that purpose.
  • Specially designed stands for components, such as water heaters, can be purchased directly. These are specifically designed for the desired elevation height and expected weight of the water heater.
  • Another option is to relocate appliances to higher levels of the home outside of the depth of potential flood waters.
  • Some items, such as HVAC components, can be mounted on walls or suspended from ceiling joists if the unit is designed for such mounting and the walls or ceiling is strong enough. Consult a mechanical contractor to determine this type of relocation.
  • Consider contacting a licensed electrician to elevate any electrical switches or receptacles above potential flood levels as the inundation of even these secondary components can affect the entire electrical system.

Outside Equipment

  • Outside air conditioning compressors, heat pumps, or package units (single units that include a furnace and air conditioner) can be placed on a base made of masonry, concrete, or pressure-treated lumber. Ensure all work conforms to applicable building codes.
  • In new construction, outdoor equipment will often have to be placed at the Base Flood Elevation (BFE), including any local freeboard requirements as part of the permitting and inspection process.
  • Elevation of outdoor equipment can also be achieved by having the components mounted on the side of your home. Consult an engineer to determine how best to do this as some components can be heavy and require special designs to carry the weight.
  • Be sure to anchor mounted, elevated exterior appliances to secure them against any high winds they might experience. Learn more about anchoring fuel tanks.
  • Install sewer backflow valves to prevent sewage entry into your home during flooding.
  • Do not overlook your landscape. Observe how water flows around your home and use culverts and landscaping to ensure it flows away from your foundation.

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