5 most common household appliances that cause flood damage

Posted by Matt Buchanan

Any appliance whose pipes or other fixtures feed into a water line has the potential to develop blockages or spring leaks that can lead to serious flooding if left unchecked.

These five common household appliances are potential sources of flooding.

1. Refrigerators

Refrigerators produce a lot of excess moisture, particularly when they’re cooling items in warm environments. Every time the refrigerator door is opened, warm air passes over the condenser coil creating condensation. This condensation often pools as water on the bottom of your refrigerator.

Most refrigerators are outfitted with drain lines to siphon off this excess fluid. Drain lines become blocked with bits of food, which prevents them from draining water effectively. Drain lines need to be cleaned regularly with chlorine bleach in order to keep them unplugged.

Another common culprit from refrigerators that can leak is the water supply line that feeds your ice machine.  Should this come unattached, you could be looking at a massive amount of standing water when you get home!

2. Dishwashers

When a dishwasher overflows, often the cause is simply that someone put too much detergent, or the wrong type of detergent, into the dispenser.

Flooding DishwasherIn other instances, the malfunction may be due to a faulty float switch assembly or a strainer clogged with food and detergent debris. Float switches are relatively easy to replace, and strainers can be removed and washed in your kitchen sink with a mild detergent and a stiff bristle brush.  If you know for a fact that the leak and resulting flood damage is not related to the float switch or the strainer, then the likely culprit is one of the appliance’s many plumbing connections. The leak could be in the metal pipe fittings that connect the dishwasher to the main water supply, or in the flexible hosing that discharges used water into a drain underneath the sink.

3. Washing Machines

Washing machine leaks can be dramatic. Fortunately, they are easy to fix in most cases. Before you take out your screwdriver, however, make sure that the water on the floor isn’t due to a clogged floor drain.

The six most common sites for washer leaks are the inlet connections, the hose connections, the center post gaskets, the outer tub sea, the air dome seal and the pump. Refer to your owner’s manual for the exact location of these things on your model. Unplug your washing machine, turn off the water main and start troubleshooting these fixtures one at a time.

4. Water Heaters

Leaking Water HeaterWhen water accumulates around the base of a gas water heater, the leak is usually due either to a malfunctioning temperature and pressure relief valve, a leaky plumbing connection, or corrosion in the water tank itself.

Test the T&P valve by flushing water through it to clear any accumulated residue or debris. If the water tank is the culprit, then the entire water heater will need to be replaced.  Like any household appliance, the key to preventing a malfunction is proper, timely maintenance.  With water heaters, it’s best to have them maintained annually by a licensed and certified plumber!

5. Toilets

Overflowing toilets are due either to a clogged drain or a malfunctioning float that allows too much water into the tank. If plunging doesn’t clear the drainage pipe, then the blockage may lay in the pipes outside the house. Time to call in a professional plumber!

 

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About Matt Buchanan

I grew up in Irving, TX and left for Nashville, TN for college. After college I lived in Washington, DC and then in Cairo, Egypt. After coming back to the states, I spent a couple of years back in Dallas before moving with my wife to Denver!
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