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Old 10-30-2008, 08:50 PM   #1
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underwater elec. panel


My basement had 7 feet of water in it from a recent flood. The elec. panel was completely underwater and I never lost power in the whole house. How is this possible?

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Old 10-30-2008, 09:03 PM   #2
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What did you think would happen?

Are you aware that that panel MUST be replaced? At least all the breakers, including the main.

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Old 10-31-2008, 03:00 AM   #3
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How is this possible?
Fresh water is not very conductive. 120/240 volts isn't that high. Don't believe everything you see on cartoons and movies.

I'm with Speedy on the replacement though.
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Old 10-31-2008, 04:00 AM   #4
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water not very conductive??? huh???

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Old 10-31-2008, 04:18 AM   #5
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Conductivity is in Siemens per meter

Tap Water conductivity: 0.05 S/m
Sea Water: 5 S/m

Silver: 63,000,000 S/m
Copper: 59,600,000 S/m
Aluminum 37,800,000 S/m

So yeah water isn't very conductive at all.
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Old 10-31-2008, 04:45 AM   #6
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be that as it may, i personally don't want to be standing in a puddle of water when a power line drops in it!
but to answer the OP's question, why did the power not short out? not enough conductivity between hot and neutral?
i saw an extension cord end underwater in a flooded basement once and the fan at the other end was running just fine.
it does kinda make you question the old 'hair-dryer in the bathtub murder' thing. if you put an ohm-meter to water, it reads about halfway.
makes me wonder how much need there truly is for GFCI outlets in wet areas. what about that? anyone? i'm sure others will want to know.

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Old 10-31-2008, 05:54 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by MdangermouseM View Post
water not very conductive??? huh???
NO, it is not.



Quote:
Originally Posted by MdangermouseM View Post
be that as it may, i personally don't want to be standing in a puddle of water when a power line drops in it!
That is a completely unrelated scenario. In that case it is NOT the water that is doing the conducting. The water is simply helping it.

This is the perfect line:
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Don't believe everything you see on cartoons and movies.
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Old 10-31-2008, 07:46 AM   #8
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It is absolutely necessary to replace the overcurrent devices (breakers) that got wet. Even if water from a leaky pipe drips on them, they must be replaced.

It has been proven that once a breaker has been wet, its ability to accurately function at the intended amperage is compromised.

The panel itself could probably be thoroughly cleaned with no ill effects.
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Old 10-31-2008, 07:53 AM   #9
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Just curious...what about all the wires that were under water...do those have to be replaced? Isn't there an issue with water wicking up the paper insulation and causing issues?
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Old 10-31-2008, 09:15 AM   #10
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I expected conductivity between the two main hots to pop the main breaker. How come that didn't happen. Thanks to all of you about replacing the breakers. I didn't realize the importance of that.
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Old 10-31-2008, 09:17 AM   #11
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I realize I have to replace the breakers, I assume that means the main too?
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Old 10-31-2008, 09:22 AM   #12
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Water itself in a pure(r) form is not very conductive. It's the contaminants that water may contain that become the conductive particles within water. 7 feet of water in a basement is surely to have 'foreign contaminants' that can be conductive, but apparently the concentration wasn't enough to create a low enough resistive path for the panel to short out.
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Old 10-31-2008, 09:26 AM   #13
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I realize I have to replace the breakers, I assume that means the main too?
ALL breakers need replacement. Also, what about other equipment that was in the basement...water heater, furnace, washer/dryer, etc.
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Old 10-31-2008, 09:33 AM   #14
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Do you have flood insurance?
To be sure replacing the entire panel would be covered if you do.
That's exactly what I would do in any case.
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Old 10-31-2008, 10:11 AM   #15
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Thanks to everyones advise I'm going online to buy new breakers today. Fortunately my Main is on the meter pedistal and didn't get wet. As for my other appliances. We replaceed the gas valve on the water heater and that is working fine. The furnace circuit board was all corroded, the unit was 10 years old and I didn't want to take any chances with other things going wrong, so I installed a new furnace. It's a good thing I did, the old units heat exchanger was cracked in 5 places. As for flood insurance, I didn't have any, but thank God f.e.m.a. kicked in and gave me some dough to cover these losses.

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