The combination of water and electricity is dangerous, as it can lead to electrocution. While this fact is no shocking surprise, homeowners must be especially careful when handling electrical outlets that have been exposed to moisture. Here’s how to handle wet electrical outlets.
Electricity offers property owners a range of daily conveniences. Appliances, like the dishwasher and washing machine, run on electricity. Technology devices, too, are recharged when plugged into an electrical socket. Electrical currents constantly run in the background throughout homes and businesses.
Similar to the predominance of electricity, water is everywhere. Thunderstorms unleash heavy rainfalls across the country. When severe, rain can cause indoor flooding. Manmade disasters, like faulty plumbing, burst water pipes or malfunctioning appliances, can spew water into the surroundings.
Given that both electricity and water are indispensable to life, sometimes the two can mix. When these two life essentials meet, dangerous outcomes are likely. Water, for instance, can find its way into electrical sockets. A range of perils could occur when water infiltrates electrical outlets.
How does moisture enter an electrical outlet?
Rainstorms can trigger indoor flooding. If the water reaches high levels, electrical outlets will become saturated with moisture. Rain can also enter a home if the windows are left open. As a precautionary measure after storms, homeowners should inspect electrical outlets installed near windows.
Everyday activities in the bathrooms and kitchens can cause electrical outlets to become wet. Cooking with liquids, for instance, can lead to splatters that reach the outlet. Washing up in the bathroom sink can send splashes of water into a nearby electrical socket.
What happens when water enters an electrical outlet?
Water triggers a process of rust and corrosion on metal surfaces. When affected by moisture, an electrical outlet will rust and corrode. Such an outcome is unsafe. The rust and corrosion act as insulators that interrupt the flow of electrical current. The resulting excess heat can spark a fire.
An electrical fire is also a possibility if a short circuit occurs. Water is a known conductor of electricity. Plugging a device or appliance into a wet outlet can cause the electrical current to rapidly increase. The overwhelmed circuit could produce sparks and end in an electrical fire.
How do property owners tackle wet electrical outlets?
A wet electrical outlet is a dangerous one. In order to preserve personal safety, home and business owners are urged to immediately take steps to dry the outlet. However, it is critical to handle the outlets knowledgeably. Otherwise, the property owner has a high risk for a severe electrical shock.
1. Manually shut off the GFCI outlet
GFCI is short for ground fault circuit interrupter. In a functioning outlet, the GFCI component triggers an automatic shutoff when the outlet is exposed to moisture. Small amounts of water, like bathroom humidity, that enter the outlet interrupt the flow of electricity and prompt an immediate shutoff.
However, automatic shutoffs are not always reliable. Manually shutting off the GFCI is advised. Turning off the GFCI outlet may be readily done by simultaneously pressing the test and reset buttons located on the outlet. Use a voltage meter to test that the GFCI outlet is properly shut down.
2. Switch off power at the breaker box
Water levels can reach several inches high when major indoor flooding occurs. Consequently, multiple electrical outlets will be exposed to the floodwaters. In such instances, the safest maneuver to protect the homeowner from an electrical shock is to turn off power at the breaker box.
When less than a handful of outlets become wet, shutting off the power at the breaker box is still recommended. A labeled breaker box is easiest to turn off. Simply switch off the breakers that send electrical currents to the wet outlets.
3. Replace the electrical outlet
A water damaged outlet should ideally be replaced. Especially when large amounts of floodwater have saturated the electrical outlet, replacement of the outlet is advised. A professional electrician possesses the tools and skills necessary to safely replace the water damaged electrical outlet.
A homeowner can dry an electrical socket with minor water damage. The most critical safety measure to preventing an unpleasant shock is to avoid touching the outlet when it is wet. Small amounts of moisture will dry overnight. Aim a blow dryer at the outlet to speed up the process.
Wet electrical outlets are a significant hazard to homeowners. Due to the risk of suffering electrical shocks, electrical outlets in the bathrooms and kitchens should be installed far away from the water source. Avoid using electrical devices when in the bath or when the floor is wet.
Contact Us for Water Damage Restoration
Water damage is a common occurrence in residential homes and commercial buildings. Pipes can burst and heavy rains can lead to flooding. Even unintentionally leaving a window open during a rainfall can cause an unwanted case of severe water damage. ServiceMaster EMT offers quality water mitigation.
As a reputable water damage restoration company, ServiceMaster EMT is prepared to return your water damaged property to its pre-loss condition fast. Our skilled technicians are experienced in cleaning up water damage swiftly and thoroughly, which reduces the spread of destruction.
Upon an initial assessment of the damage, our water damage cleanup crews run high-tech water extraction equipment to remove standing water. Powerful dehumidifiers are set up to eliminate moisture from the area. Any salvageable furnishings and belongings will be restored.
Water damage of any extent is an emergency. Porous materials, such as wood, drywall and fabrics, absorb moisture quickly, which allows the damage to spread. Building materials will warp and rot. Mold will grow within 24 hours, if the water damage is left professionally unaddressed.
Prevent further destruction of your home or business by consulting ServiceMaster EMT when faced with water damage. Our technicians stand by 24 hours a day to promptly respond to emergencies in Los Angeles, California. When unexpected disasters strike, contact us.
For immediate assistance for water damage in homes or businesses, contact ServiceMaster EMT at (800) 376-6678. We are available 24/7 to respond to emergencies.