Learning, Breaker,

What to Do if a Breaker Box Gets Wet?

If your breaker box gets wet, what should you do? Here are a few tips to help keep your home safe.

In general, light condensation can be removed from the circuit breaker box by wiping it with a clean, water-absorbent towel. But if a lot of water gets in, you might have to replace the whole service panel.

I will go into more detail below.

What Should You Do If Water Gets Into the Breaker Box?

If a lot of water gets into the circuit breaker box, it’s best to get a new one. But if you identify the cause and make some repairs, you can avoid replacement. For example, you might only need to replace a few circuit breakers or wires instead of the whole panel.

It is scary to see water dripping from your electrical box, but if you have doubts water has entered your panel, there are some things you need to do. First, don’t touch the wires or anything inside the box. Moisture loosens the wires, which will eventually cause them to catch fire.

undone electrical outlet

There are many ways water gets into the breaker box. Firstly, it can go through an open spot or a knockout. Water can go into the box through a pipe that leaks. If sufficient water is in the panel, you must replace the whole service panel.

If you think water got into the breaker box, turn off all appliances and power sources immediately. Water can cause an electric shock, so if you see water anywhere near the electrical panel, don’t touch it. When water gets into a breaker box, it causes rust, especially on the metal ridges near the bottom.

You should act quickly if you see water dripping from the fuse box. Moisture damage to the breaker box may worsen if you don’t take proper steps.

What Happens If Water Gets Into the Circuit Breaker?

Remember that water comes into the electrical panel from these sources such as:

  • Water from air conditioners because the panel is in a low position.
  • Humidity caused condensation.
  • Moisture comes through items like cement and masonry on the surface.
  • Leaking pipes or valves nearby let water out.

Water may enter, which could lead the metal parts of the panel to acquire rust and corrosion. It can also make the circuit breaker stop operating or fail.

RV circuit breaker

If the problem is not resolved, it could damage the electronics connected to the circuit breaker. There may be an overload or short circuit in the electrical junction box if water is present.

How to Waterproof an Electrical Panel?

If water got into the circuit breaker box in the last case, you could make a DIY service panel box.

This method might be perfect for people on a tight budget. It’s because you’re going to put the circuit breakers in a plastic container.

waterproof box
Video | Mark Davies

Most of the time, buying a waterproof service panel is better than using a plastic container to keep the electric components from getting wet.

What You Will Need

  • Power drill
  • GFCI circuit breaker
  • Big plastic box (preferably with a good seal on its lid)

Step-by-step Guide

Here is a step-by-step guide:

  • Using the drill, make the holes in the sides of the circuit box. Ensure that the gaps are close to the top.
  • Use the drill again to create holes in the bottom of the circuit box so the water can drain out.
  • Insert the wires from your electrical devices through the holes at the top of the box.
  • Wires should be attached to the GFCI breaker. After that, link up the circuit breaker to the main.

Waterproofing of the panel only helps when the wet appliances are plugged into the circuit. You may also make an electrical system safer by preventing your appliances from receiving water damage.


Will a breaker trip if it gets wet?

If your electrical panel gets wet, you should shut off the power at the breaker box. This will stop electricity from going through the wet outlet. You can also see if the breaker has a name. If it doesn’t, you can try turning off the breakers one by one until you find the one you want. If you avoid trying things out alone, you can hire a licensed electrician to help you.

A circuit breaker will often trip when the current exceeds what it can handle. On the other hand, some circuit breakers can handle surges that last only a few milliseconds. AFCI circuit breakers are the name for these kinds of breakers.

You should try to fix your breaker only if it gets wet. It would be better to call an electrician who knows how to repair electronics. Also, it would be best if you never tried to reset a circuit breaker that has been wet. This is risky because the circuit breaker may trip again if it gets wet.

Can a breaker still be used if it gets wet?

When a circuit breaker gets wet, it can be very dangerous and cause a lot of trouble. You should call your trusted, licensed Mister Sparky electrician to find out more safely. The water will go away eventually. Do not touch any wet wires part of an electrical system turned on.

Can tripping a breaker start a fire?

At that point, when a circuit breaker trips, a lot of electricity is trying to move through the circuit immediately, making the circuit breaker break the circuit. A lot of electricity going through a circuit can overheat the electrical cables in your home or electrical devices, which can cause a fire or electric shock.

How much time is required to dry out the wiring?

It takes about 2-3 hours or more and should show up if any issues need to be repaired.

Take a look at some of our related articles below.

Video References

Galloway Building Services

Mark Davies

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About Sam Orlovsky

AvatarCertifications: B.E.E.
Education: University Of Denver - Electric Engineering
Lives In: Denver Colorado

Electrical engineering is my passion, and I’ve been in the industry for over 20 years. This gives me a unique ability to give you expert home improvement and DIY recommendations. I’m not only an electrician, but I also like machinery and anything to do with carpentry. One of my career paths started as a general handyman, so I also have a lot of experience with home improvement I love to share.

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