ARLINGTON, Va. — The Gas Appliance Manufacturers Association (GAMA) has issued a warning reminding individuals about the importance of replacing flood-damaged plumbing, heating, cooling, and electrical appliances rather than repairing them.

The organization also recommends that all work on flooded equipment be performed by a qualified, licensed contractor, not by homeowners.

The GAMA warning stems from past reports of accidents resulting from improper do-it-yourself repairs on flood-damaged appliances. One homeowner, for example, suffered severe burns in a flash fire that occurred when he tried to relight the pilot light on his flooded gas water heater.

GAMA stresses that not only gas equipment, but also oil equipment as well as electric units present a risk. Evan R. Gaddis, GAMA president, noted, "Attempts to use equipment with defective gas or oil control devices can result in fires, flashbacks, or explosions. And in the case of electric appliances, the result can be injury or even death from a powerful electric shock."

The organization says that control valves are manufactured to extremely close tolerances. According to the association, "Once [control valves] are submerged in floodwater, they must be replaced. Field repairs should never be attempted by the homeowner. Even when controls appear to be operative, the unit should not be used after floodwaters recede."

GAMA said that in some instances, government aid may be available to help consumers finance the replacement of flood-damaged heating equipment. For more information, visit the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Web site at

Publication date: 09/22/2003