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Thread: Restoring Flood Damaged Equipment

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Location
    Midland, MI
    Posts
    135

    Restoring Flood Damaged Equipment

    You may have heard of the historic floods caused by the failure of two dams upstream of Midland, MI.

    I have a friend whose basement shop was completely flooded, with water level reaching 1 ft from the ceiling. All major equipment - table saw, planer, drill press, etc - was completely submerged.

    I'd appreciate any advice people can give on restoring the equipment, repairing the damage caused to motors, electronics, cast iron surfaces and so on. There is plenty of elbow grease available to help with the fixing.

    Dave

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Location
    SE PA - Central Bucks County
    Posts
    52,968
    This is going to be a really hard task. If his insurance will replace, that's where I'd go first. But if restoration is necessary...drying everything out thoroughly is critical and disassembly may be required to be able to do that most efficiently as there will be a lot of surfaces that were not "protected" by paint. Flood waters also bring a lot of debris and that may be even harder to extract. Electrics may or may not need to be completely replaced.
    --

    The most expensive tool is the one you buy "cheaply" and often...

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Location
    Okotoks AB
    Posts
    1,976
    I've been down that road. All bearings will need to be replaced. Even sealed bearings will have trace amounts of water, which will ruin them. Electric switches & contactors must be replaced. They have components in them that will corrode & insulating materials that will take on water & become misshapen. When motors are apart for new bearings, the windings should be baked to remove traces of moisture that can take weeks or months to, or may never, dry out completely.

    All the wiring in the basement, including the breaker panel and circuit breakers must also be replaced.

    So, here's to hoping he has good insurance.

  4. #4
    Ideally insurance pays out and includes some moving fees. Perhaps 1 machine may be a fun project but replacement would definitely be the way to go

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2016
    Location
    Modesto, CA, USA
    Posts
    4,332
    Any paperwork can be frozen and then slowly freeze dried. Motors etc can be refrigerated as close to freezing as possible to slow corrosion and rot until they can be taken apart and baked dry. Freezing them risks ice breaking stuff inside. I agree replace bearings. This is one of the few times I recommend wd40. Wash everything with distilled water as soon as possible. First rinse with garden hose to get most of the crud off.
    Not really needed for home shop motors but big generators can be sealed up with electric heaters under a vacuum. This is what my neighbor did for some flooded power stations. Took 6 months to a year of drying. Would have taken longer to get them built to order. Once electric stuff is dried use a megger on it all to see if it really dried out.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2018
    Location
    Cambridge Vermont
    Posts
    763
    it would be a fun project but for an entire shop, the amount of time needed would take too long. Hopefully (like other said) insurance will cover it. I'm not sure if a dam bursting would be "flooding" as normal insurance will not cover flood damage. Most people don't have flood insurance. In this case it'll most likely be money from the state to cover it while a court determines who's at fault.

    Doing one piece at a time could take weeks if you have plenty of time or months. With rebuilding a house I just can't see how anyone could do every tool in their shop. Even storing the tools while the house is being repaired (since it was a basement shop) would make working on them extremely hard. The best thing to do would be to sell them. Document them so you have proof including receipts. If you have time you might try to help him out by repairing one or two of his favorites.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2014
    Location
    Western PA
    Posts
    665
    Most motor shops have ovens to bake motor windings. Like everyone else said, replace the switches and replace the bearings.This is all crap work, i feel sorry for your friend.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Location
    Midland, MI
    Posts
    135
    Thanks everyone for your input. I've passed this along to my friend.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    Central Michigan
    Posts
    1,392
    Good luck Dave if the club member needs some help let me know.

    Richard
    Richard Poitras
    Central, Michigan....
    01-02-2006


  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jul 2003
    Location
    Winterville, NC (eastern NC)
    Posts
    2,050
    Spent 25 years in insurance claims, so I know what flood waters can do. If your coverage allows, replace the machines that run off electricity. Flood water contains silt and debris that will shorten the life of any moving parts, such as bearings and motors, any sliding parts, etc. If your machines are of the 'old iron' variety, they will be worth a rebuild, since they are built to last.
    I had a storage building that got a roof leak, and several router bits had rusted and corroded shafts, so even pure rain water can cause problems.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Peoria, IL
    Posts
    1,727
    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Wilkins View Post
    Spent 25 years in insurance claims, so I know what flood waters can do. If your coverage allows, replace the machines that run off electricity. Flood water contains silt and debris that will shorten the life of any moving parts, such as bearings and motors, any sliding parts, etc. If your machines are of the 'old iron' variety, they will be worth a rebuild, since they are built to last.
    I had a storage building that got a roof leak, and several router bits had rusted and corroded shafts, so even pure rain water can cause problems.
    Silt and debris are nice terms for raw human sewage, animal waste, gasoline from car fuel tanks, and motor oil. I'd consider the health impact of digging all that out of the nooks and crannies.

  12. #12
    If his "basement" is really a basement in the eyes of the insurance company, unless he has private flood insurance there will likely be no coverage for his tools. If his basement is a "walk out" basement he may be covered. There is a very specific definition of basement along with extreme coverage limitations in the insurance world. If all sides are below grade, 4", 4' or all the way does not matter then its a basement.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Location
    Midland, MI
    Posts
    135
    Unfortunately, none of the damage in this case is covered by insurance.

    Good point to be cautious about heath risks from untreated sewage in the basement. I think (hope) that risk would be low in this case...flooding was over land, not sewer backup. The river was high from torrential rains, then a large surge came when a dam failed and Wixom lake released something like 20 billion gallons of presumably clean water over the course of an hour or so.

  14. #14
    Unless he has flood insurance, most likely, he is SOL. Most policies (varies by state) don't cover rising waters, even if it comes back up via sewer lines. .

  15. #15
    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Bunge View Post
    Unfortunately, none of the damage in this case is covered by insurance.

    Good point to be cautious about heath risks from untreated sewage in the basement. I think (hope) that risk would be low in this case...flooding was over land, not sewer backup. The river was high from torrential rains, then a large surge came when a dam failed and Wixom lake released something like 20 billion gallons of presumably clean water over the course of an hour or so.
    Wow. So whole towns and cities will have to be abandoned because of this. Welcome to the future, sadly.

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