In general, electricity and water are a lethal combination. When water gets into contact with electric wires, it could cause short circuits, shocks, and fires. Water can cause various problems when it comes into contact with electrical wires.
- Tripping circuit breaker
- Blow a fuse
- Corrosion and exposure of the conductive surface of wires
- Ground fault
I will explain more below.
What Happens If Electrical Wiring Absorbs Water?
Electricity and water are a lethal combination. When water gets into contact with electric wires, it could cause short circuits, shocks, and fires.
Water can cause various problems when it comes into contact with electrical wires.
Tripping the Breaker or Blowing up the Fuse
A short circuit, for example, can trip your breaker or blow up a fuse. That can be inconvenient if it happens during a storm, but it is not a high risk.
Electrocution and Fires
The more serious issue arises when water causes the insulation coating on the wires to disintegrate. If you touch the exposed or bare cables, you may be electrocuted. If the cables make contact, it can also lead to a fire.
Wires, like other metals, corrode or get damaged by rust when wet in the presence of air (oxygen).
Corroded wires have limited electrical conductivity or efficiency and facilitate the insulation sheath’s disintegration. Corroded cables may lead to various system malfunctions.
Water damages the electrical circuit system, which subsequently initiates ground faults. If there is a ground fault, you may be electrocuted if you touch the wall, ground, and equipment near the wet circuit.
How to Recognize Water-Damaged Wiring
There are primarily two methods for identifying water-damaged wires and cables.
Wires and Equipment Immersed in Standing Water
As a general safety precaution, any wires that have come in contact with water must be replaced by a technician.
Wires that Buzz
Following heavy rain, you may notice a hum or light buzzing noise from wires and/or appliances. If you notice buzzing, do not touch the wire or the equipment. The buzzing sound indicates that it carries a rogue charge that can shoot into you if you come too close. If a buzzing wire is inside a pool of water, stay away from it.
Water Damage in Exposed Wires
When wiring is exposed to moisture, the internal components could be affected due to corrosion or mold growth. This type of damage can cause insulation and termination failures that can be troublesome.
What Must I Do if Water Damage Occurs to My Electrical Wiring and Equipment?
Precaution: Before conducting any electrical safety checks, tests, or wiring repairs, locate the electrical circuits that supply power to the water-damaged zone and/or equipment, turn off the circuits, and then tag them with a note.
Water-damaged wires and cables must be replaced to ensure a safe and credible electrical system. The problem can be aggravated if the components have been exposed to salty water during hurricanes and other natural disasters.
Take a look at some of our related articles below.
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- Does WD40 conduct electricity
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