How to Protect Equipment After Spring Thaw Flooding

HSB Canada
Image of two people standing on a wet floor in green rain boots,

Helping HIROC’s Subscribers mitigate risk and loss is what makes the Reciprocal strong. Part of that work means partnering with insurers to provide Subscribers the most comprehensive coverage. Ultimately, it’s important that you and your teams have the right coverage, and the information needed to make important decisions. 

This article has been provided courtesy of our partners from HSB Canada. It is intended to help Subscribers in flood-prone areas protect vital operational equipment in case of flooding.

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How to Protect Equipment After Spring Thaw Flooding

After a flood, do not attempt to operate your equipment without properly restoring it.

Even after water levels have dropped, equipment damage and loss can still occur. Even when your equipment’s exterior appears normal, residual moisture and contaminants can lead to permanent damage. Your equipment could become damaged or destroyed if you attempt to start or test it without adequate cleaning and preparation for operation.  

Electrical Equipment

Do not energize equipment that has been flooded until properly cleaned, dried out, and until insulation has been tested. Application of power to wet circuits will usually result in serious damage. It is better to spend the necessary time drying than to risk destruction of equipment.

  • Windings in electric machinery should not be dried at temperatures exceeding the rating of its insulation system. In general, a maximum temperature of 194 degrees F or 90 degrees C may be used. Check with the manufacturer for equipment-specific information and recommendations. 
  • Dry type transformers should be cleaned and thoroughly dried as described for windings.  
  • Oil-filled transformers should be thoroughly inspected for damage, including the insulation bushing, and oil samples which should be drawn from the tank’s top and bottom for analysis, and the lab analysis report reviewed.
  • Circuit boards that have been immersed can sometimes be salvaged, provided they were not energized at the time of immersion, and that water-sensitive components are not mounted to them. This can be done by carefully washing the individual boards in pure water and thoroughly drying before energizing. 

Before Operating Machinery  

  • Contact the manufacturer for its recommendations.  
  • Inspect foundations for cracking, weakness, or settlement.
  • Inspect all machine internals for silt accumulations and clean as needed. 
  • Open the cylinders of all reciprocating engines or compressors that have been immersed and remove foreign material or water.  
  • Drain and clean lubrication systems. Wipe oil-containing elements with lint-free rags and refill with new lubricants as required. Monitor the lubricant charge during the initial hours after resuming operation for indications of water contamination and change lubricant if necessary. 
  • Ball and roller bearings should be opened, solvent-clean and re-lubricated, if suspected of being contaminated by water and debris, in accordance with manufacturer instructions.
  • Carefully clean and test governors and controls. Many control systems are electric. Refer to recommendations for electrical equipment above.  


  • Carefully inspect foundations and settings of boilers for settlement. Do not operate a boiler if there is any evidence that the foundation has been undermined.  
  • Make sure the setting (brickwork, refractory, and insulation materials) is thoroughly dry. Use portable heaters to help where necessary. If the boiler has been immersed in salt or brackish water, the casing and insulation should be removed at least in wetted areas and the pressure parts should be washed with fresh water. After such washing, new, dry insulation material should be applied and the casing re-installed.  
  • All safety appliances must be cleaned and repaired as needed. This includes safety and relief valves, steam gauges, water columns, low-water cutouts, and blowdown.
  • All controls must be inspected and tested before operation, especially the water level control and low water level fuel cutoffs. 
  • Burners should not be fired until checked by a burner technician. An explosion may occur if the combustion controls do not function properly.  
  • Boilers should not be operated if proper feed water is not available. If operation is essential, and the boiler is to be run on untreated potable water, it will be necessary to blow down the boiler every eight hours and to open and clean the boiler internals at least once per week until proper water quality is re-established. In addition to frequent blowdown, and provided that clean makeup water is available, it is also helpful to run with maximum makeup flow while diverting as much condensate as possible to sewer or drain until the boiler water quality returns to normal.  

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About HSB Canada

HSB Canada, part of Munich Re, is a multi-line specialty insurer and provider of inspection, risk management and IoT technology services. HSB Canada’s insurance offerings include equipment breakdown, cyber risk and other coverages. HSB blends its engineering expertise, technology and data to craft inventive insurance and service solutions for existing and emerging risks posed by technological change. Throughout its 150-year history HSB’s mission has been to help clients prevent loss, advance sustainable use of energy and build deeper relationships that benefit business, public institutions and consumers. HSB holds A.M. Best Company’s highest financial rating, A++ (Superior). 

These recommendations are general guidelines and are not intended to be exhaustive or complete, nor are they designed to replace information or instructions from the manufacturer of your equipment. This article is for informational purposes only and is not intended to convey or constitute legal advice. HSB makes no warranties or representations as to the accuracy or completeness of the content herein. Under no circumstances shall HSB or any party involved in creating or delivering this article be liable to you for any loss or damage that results from the use of the information contained herein. This article does not modify or invalidate any of the provisions, exclusions, terms or conditions of the applicable policy and endorsements. For specific terms and conditions, please refer to the applicable insurance form.