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Electric Circuit Repair after Flood or Water Damage

By Dave Rongey - Summary:

Guide to Electrical Repairs After Water Damage: Basic Procedure for Water Damaged Electrical Systems, Electrical Repairs for Water Damaged Electrical Wiring and Parts.

Basement Water Causes Electric Circuit Problem

Electrical Question: I had a couple of inches of water in my basement and following the draining of the water I have an electrical circuit that does not work.

  • None of the circuit breakers are tripped and I have tested and reset all the GFCI outlets.
  • The end of the circuit has lights and outlets that are not getting power but I can’t trace the wires back to the breaker box due to the covering of the drywall.
  • I had an extension cord plugged into the outlet with the female end laying on the ground when the water flooded and was covering it.
  • No power now reaching that outlet or others connected to it but no tripped breaker.
  • Should I replace the breaker even though it isn’t tripped and seems to flip on and off without any binding?

Is there any other areas I can look to?

This electrical wiring question came from Paul, in South Lyon, Michigan.

Dave’s Reply:
Thanks for your electrical wiring question Paul.

Paul, the circuit breaker should be tested to seeĀ  if it really needs to be replaced. Keep in mind that there may be other damage within the electrical system in the basement that were affected by the water damage. Please continue reading for further information.

Electrical Repairs After Water Damage

  • Application: Inspecting and Repairing Water Damaged Electrical Systems.
  • Skill Level: Intermediate to Advanced – Best performed by a Qualified Electrician or Water Damage Professional.
  • Tools Required: Basic Electricians Pouch Hand Tools, Voltage Tester, Continuity Tester and Megger Meter.
  • Estimated Time: Depends on the complexity of the water damaged electrical circuits and equipment.
  • Precaution: Identify the electrical circuits which provide power to the water damaged area and equipment, turn the circuits OFF and then Tag it with a Note before performing any electrical inspections, tests or repair of electrical wiring.
  • Note: Water damaged equipment is best repaired by a Licensed Electrical Contractor or a Certified Trained Water Damage Technician.
  • Basic Procedure for Water Damaged Electrical Systems

    • Water damage can cause a variety of problems not only to the building structure and the furnishings, but also to the electrical wiring system, components and equipment.
    • The electrical circuits should be turned OFF until the water damaged area has been properly evaluated and the necessary repairs have been made.
    • GFCI circuit protection should always be used in the affected area even during the cleanup process where electrical devices and equipment will be used.
  • Electrical Repairs for Water Damaged Electrical Wiring and Parts

    1. The affected electrical systems of the water damaged area should be thoroughly inspected.
    2. Because of the corrosive damage that can occur, water saturated cable or wiring and electrical components such as outlets and switches should be replaced.
    3. If motors or other electrical equipment has become immersed into water or has an accumulation of moisture it would be best to obtain a water corrosion inhibitor that is approved for electrical equipment.
    4. Follow the instructions completely which typically suggests to apply the water and corrosion inhibitor before drying the equipment or exposing the equipment to the air.
    5. Exposing water damaged equipment to the air without treating it with an approved electrically safe corrosion inhibitor may cause permanent damage.

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3 Responses to “Electric Circuit Repair after Flood or Water Damage”
  1. Hello author, thank you so much for sharing this post with us. Some of the people do not understand what to do after flood damage and especially when it come to repair the electricity. After reading this post, they can get to know about what they can do at such situations.

  2. Kristi Gilmore says:

    I had a water leak from my bathroom upstairs through my kitchen ceiling last night. This is not the first time, and obviously the house has had a history of leak problems. The water leaked down the walls behind the stove and outlets in the kitchen, and out of the ceiling directly above and onto the stove.

    In addition, there is evidence of water leakage down through the walls into the bottom cabinets (I just recently found this). We have had problems in the house with electrical shorts, outlets arcing, the water heater tripping its circuit, and the dryer occasionally giving off a small shock. Now I am worried that we could have a significant water and electrical issue. My landlord had the leak fixed last time, but not well.


    • Dave Rongey says:

      Hi Kristi,
      This has all the ingredients of a serious problem with potential electric shock hazards, possible mold or mildew problems, and structural damage as well.
      Here is what I would do in a situation such as this:
      Document this issue in written form in full detail, date it, and keep the original copy. Send or deliver a copy of this document to the landlord and if possible the property owner. Request that the matter be resolved. Explain that this is not the first occurrence and that previous repairs did not resolve the problem. Contact the local building authority or building department and explain the situation with this rental unit and provide a copy of the document that was submitted to the landlord. Ask about the correct procedure to have the matter resolved and what the allowed time frames are. Ask about what your tenant rights are and how you may be assisted in this matter. Electric circuits that are affected should be identified, labeled, and turned OFF to prevent the possibility of electric shock hazards. It would be best to have the matter resolved right away. Relocating into a different rental unit until these problems are resolved should be seriously considered for your safety.
      I hope this helps.


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