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Electric Circuit Repair after Flood or Water Damage
©Copyright 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 the Electrician’s Reply:
Thanks for your electrical wiring question Paul.
Paul, the circuit breaker should be tested to see 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.
Guide to 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
- The affected electrical systems of the water damaged area should be thoroughly inspected.
- Because of the corrosive damage that can occur, water saturated cable or wiring and electrical components such as outlets and switches should be replaced.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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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