Lessons Learned: Refrigerators

In the world of appliances, there are a few luxury brands that compete for places in high-end designer kitchens: Sub Zero, Viking, Miele and Liebherr. When you are in that market and are offered a $10,000 Liebherr unit floor model at +60% off the retail price you say “Yes, please.”

When your home remodel gets deluged by 100-year record rains while the roof is half bare, and your kitchen gets flooded you speed dial your insurance company.

When, through a series of missteps amid the mess, all of your contents are removed for cleaning, the refrigerator is left in place, but the electricity to the flooded area is cut off, what you have in the making is an appliance hazmat environment. You know the kind.

My 2nd week on the job, a very wise and experienced Project Manager said to me while I was walking a home restoration loss that the #1 rule in restoration is “Never open the fridge!” Thanks, Mr. Spruce!

This beautiful Liebherr with gorgeous cabinet-front styled doors had been sitting in its ‘cultivating’ state for some time and when the owners opened it up, the first step was a fire-bucket drill to remove the “contents turned compost,” followed by a call to the Liebheer appliance tech who said that it would never be restored to its previous state. The third step was to call 24/7 in to take one last look, just in case — and that was the right move.

The refrigerator was brought into our lab and immediately treated with heavy sanitation processes, including ultrasonics and disinfectants in the spray booth. Our lab techs were in full gown and masked and, after full initial decontamination, dismantled the entire unit piece by piece, treating each with the same process individually three times. The main frame and housing were placed in our large-scale drying room to bake out at 120° for 4 days. Water lines were disinfected, run, and tested several times to establish purity standards.

This restoration process is by no means the norm, but it is a shining example of how effective the cleaning and sanitation processes used in the lab by 24/7 are. The picture above is of the gorgeous Liebherr, back in its designed spot and keeping all of the family’s provisions refrigerated. Electronics Restoration is “anything that plugs in,” not just hand-helds or media devices. Even luxury appliances of the highest order can be brought back to life.

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