Warning to Flood Victims: Replace All Gas Control Valves, Electric Circuit Breakers, GFCIs, and Fuses That Have Been Under Water

March 06, 1997
Release Number: 97080

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) is warning flood victims that all gas control valves, electric circuit breakers, ground fault circuit interrupters (GFCIs), and fuses that have been under water must be replaced to avoid explosions and fires. Even if these safety devices appear to function after being submerged in a flood, they are unfit for continued use and cannot be repaired. They may eventually fail, causing explosions or fires. Other parts of gas and electric appliances that have been submerged such as fans, motors, electric circuits, and venting systems should be evaluated by a qualified technician for continued safe operation. Entire appliances may need to be replaced.

Gas control valves on furnaces, water heaters, and other gas appliances that have been under water must be replaced. Silt and corrosion from flood water can damage internal components of control valves and prevent proper operation. Gas can leak and result in an explosion or fire. Gas control valves that have been under water cannot be salvaged; they must be replaced.

Electric circuit breakers, GFCIs, and fuses that have been submerged must also be replaced because water and silt inside the devices prevent them from performing properly as safety devices. Flood water and silt trapped inside circuit breakers or switches can cause electrical shorting or mechanical malfunctions. The only safe action is to discard and replace circuit breakers, GFCIs, and fuses that have been under water.

CPSC also recommends that consumers test smoke detectors that have been submerged.

More detailed information can be found in CPSC's Safety Tips for Flood Victims