April showers bring May flowers…but also electrical damage caused by water leakage and winter’s ice dams. Floods and hurricanes can also take their toll. Take care to make sure electrical wires aren’t exposed. If they have been, if they are corroded, it may be time to replace. First, you must follow these important steps before attempting to handle water-damaged items.
- Know the code. Check out the National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA) guide for advice on electronics that may need to be replaced or repaired by a professional technician. Electrical Safety Foundation International (ESFI) also has a helpful and educational guide to rebuilding and renovating water-damaged electrical systems.
- What’s your damage, man? Use the resources above as a guide to figuring out what kind of problems have occurred and to what equipment. Water damage can result from natural disasters, like floods or hurricanes, or from man-made debris, like chemicals or sewage in the water. Was your wiring affected? Your conductors? Or was it your whole electrical system?
- Don’t Drink the Water. Determine if the water was tainted in some way. Did salt from ocean waters corrode your appliances? Or was it something more pervasive, like oil?
- Do you have the time? How much time did your electronics spend in the water?
- Call a professional! Everywhere you look, whether it’s on the NEC or ESFI, the biggest takeaway is to Contact an Experienced Electrician. Don’t do this alone or unassisted. Professional technicians know the codes, the materials and the proper safety practices necessary to get the job done.
If you find that your electrical system has been exposed to water – for any length of time –contact your local Mister Sparky for an evaluation.