If you’ve been putting off preparing your home for harsh weather and flooding, now is a good time to get started. Although it is impossible to plan for every contingency, there are a lot of things you can do to protect your possessions during storms and other natural disasters. The following guide will teach you how to disaster proof your appliances, helping to prevent costly repairs and lengthy insurance claims.


Protect Your Appliances From Power Surges and Lightning

The only fail-proof way to protect your devices from lightning is to disconnect them from the electrical outlet. Surge protectors are designed to protect electronics from the power surges that are common after an outage. They can’t absorb enough current to prevent lightning damage. Even a system that physically disconnects the power when it detects a surge can’t offer reliable protection.  Lightning protection systems provide more protection than point-of-use devices like surge protectors, but nothing offers total protection.

If you’re leaving your home to escape dangerous weather, disconnect your appliances from their electrical outlets. In some circumstances, you may want to leave your refrigerator plugged in. Continue reading for more information.


Protect Your Appliances From Flooding

Some appliances can be safely moved to higher ground or elevated on bricks. For safety, some machines should be left in place, even if they might be damaged.

Washing Machine and Dryers – Safe to move

Electric Ovens – Safe to move if they have been disconnected from the power and are completely cool.

Protip: Many ovens have a door lock to make moving easier. If your oven does not have a door lock, use duct tape to hold the door closed while you are moving the appliance.

Gas stoves and ovens – should not be moved, even if the pilot lights and gas are off. To move a gas stove requires disconnecting the gas line. Connecting and disconnecting the gas line of a stove should only be handled by a trained professional.

If you have a gas oven:

  • Turn off the pilot lights.
  • Turn off the gas at the source.
  • Disconnect the oven from the electrical outlet.
  • Leave the gas line connected

Refrigerators – Move with caution. If you have an older model refrigerator that uses Freon, it should not be moved. If the compressor seal is compromised while the refrigerator is being moved, you could be exposed to a hazardous gas that can cause respiratory difficulty, burns, brain damage, or even death.


What to Do With Your Refrigerator If You Have To Leave Your Home

A refrigerator compartment is a sealed environment that moisture cannot easily escape. Unless the compartment is clean and dry, it may develop mold or mildew. Since mold is difficult and often dangerous to clean, prevention is the best option.

To protect your refrigerator:

  • Turn off the ice maker.
  • Turn off the water supply to the refrigerator.
  • Turn off the refrigerator.
  • Unplug the refrigerator from the power.
  • Remove all food.
  • Clean the inside compartments with vinegar and baking soda and wipe it dry with paper towels.
  • Place an open box of baking soda inside the unit. Alternately, you can use dry, unused coffee grounds inside a paper bag. This will help absorb moisture and odors


Note: It can take up to 24 hours for a refrigerator to reach optimal food-safe temperature when it is first turned on. When you return to your home, make sure to allow your refrigerator to cool completely before using it to store food.

If you want to leave your refrigerator on:

  • Turn off the ice maker.
  • Turn off the water supply to the refrigerator.
  • Remove food that will spoil while you are gone.
  • Fill empty jugs with water and leave them in the refrigerator. This will help the unit stay cool while using less energy.


Protip: Fill a cup halfway with water and allow it to freeze, unsealed, for 24 hours. When the water is frozen solid, put a quarter on top of the ice and return the cup to the freezer. When you return home, check the ice. If the quarter is halfway through the ice, the freezer was off long enough for the ice to melt, but the food may still be safe to eat. If the quarter is at the bottom of the cup, the ice thawed completely, and the food in your freezer should be discarded.


If Your Appliances Have Been Exposed to Water

Do not use your appliances if they have been exposed to water. Using a water-logged appliance could result in electrical shock and fire. However, your appliance may still be salvageable. An appliance repair service like It Is Fixed can help safely inspect your appliances, determine if it can be saved, and repair it if necessary.

Do you have any disaster-preparedness tips? Share them below!