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Electric Circuit Repair after Flood or Water Damage

What should I do about Water Damaged Electrical Wires? Basic Procedure for Water Damaged Electrical Systems, Electrical Repairs for Water Damaged Electrical Wiring and Parts.

Home Electrical Wiring Video

Hooking Up a Generator to the House Panel
Using a Circuit Breaker Interlock Kit
for Backup Power

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Basement Water Causes Electric Circuit Problem
Electrical Question: What should I do about water damaged electrical wires?

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 theĀ 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 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

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Complete Guide to Home Electrical Wiring

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The Non-Contact Electrical Tester
This is a testing tool that I have had in my personal electrical tool pouch for years, and is the first test tool I grab to help identify electrical wiring. It is a Non-contact tester that I use to easily Detect Voltage in Cables, Cords, Circuit Breakers, Lighting Fixtures, Switches, Outlets and Wires. Simply insert the end of the tester into an outlet, lamp socket, or hold the end of the tester against the wire you wish to test. Very handy and easy to use.

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The Plug-In Outlet Tester
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FAQs Frequently Asked Questions and Comments

7 Responses to “Electric Circuit Repair after Flood or Water Damage”
  1. 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.


  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. Aleta Clayton says:

    Somehow my kitchen coffee maker leaked all the water I put in, about 1/2 gallon onto the kitchen counter. The leak definitely came from the bottom of the coffee maker itself and began when I poured water in to make coffee. Water spilled everywhere on kitchen counters. After I cleaned it up I got a new coffee maker and discovered that the kitchen outlets that flank my sink and which I have used for coffee maker, grinder and microwave do not work. The oven and refrigerator circuits do work, as do outlets on the other side of the kitchen and kitchen overhead lights. No circuit breakers have tripped. Can I hope that the wiring will dry out on its own in a few days and that will allow the outlets to work or do I need to call an electrician? I really dread expense of electrician.

  5. Dave Rongey says:

    Hi Aleta,
    In most cases, the circuit should be turned off so the wiring can be exposed at the affected outlet boxes and allowed to dry before reusing. However if a GFCI outlet has been saturated with water it may need to be replaced.
    I hope this helps you,

  6. Stacie says:

    I had a leak from my bathroom which came through the ceiling into my hallway and living room and down into the cellar on Sunday morning, the water was coming through my spotlights on the ceiling and running down the wall over the light switches. will we need the lights etc rewired?

  7. Dave Rongey says:

    Hi Stacie,
    Typically, unless the electrical wiring has been completely submerged in water and the structure framing does not have to be replaced then the wiring does not need to be replaced. In cases like this your Homeowners Insurance company will have a contractor come out to review the extent of the water damage and prepare the cleanup, and repair any damage that may have occurred to the wall coverings, such as sheet rock, remove and replace insulation and basically expose all of the water soaked areas to air so it will completely dry out to prevent mold or mildew, which can damage the home, and would not be good for your health. Keep in mind that each situation such as this will need to be inspected by a Certified Water Damage expert to completely assess the damage and make the appropriate repairs.
    I hope this helps you.