Salvaging Motors, Switches, and Other Electromechanical Devices
While a fire may melt insulation, motor windings and plastic parts beyond repair, simple smoke or water damage is not necessarily a death sentence for robustly-built motors, power tools, starters, and switches. If you move quickly, you can stabilize these items and prevent more serious damage until you can get help from a qualified electrician or other electrical specialist.
Turn Off • Unplug • Disconnect from Power • Remove Batteries
Wet or damaged motors and electrical equipment are a serious safety hazard. In addition to being dangerous, powering up may permanently damage the devices.
Do Triage: Make an evaluation of whether the item is worth the time to save. Take into consideration the value of the motor or tool, the age of the item, difficulty of replacement, and the extent of the damage. It may make more sense to replace an older motor or tool with a more energy-efficient model. You may have to pay to replace bearings, or other components, so it the item is badly damaged or of marginal value, it is probably best to move on. On the other hand, a very expensive motor or tool may be worth trying to save. Keep in mind that flood waters often contain corrosive chemicals that may cause deterioration of electrical components.