Most of us know that water and electricity together is a dangerous combination, so it can be quite alarming to see water running out of your electrical panel. While it’s a situation that needs to be addressed, you may be surprised to learn it’s actually quite common, especially here in Kansas, where the electrical panel is often located in a home’s basement.
How Does Water Get into an Electrical Panel?
In most cases, rain is to blame for a wet breaker box. If the electric meter outside your home isn’t properly sealed water can run down the main electric service cable, also called the service drop, and all the way inside your house to the electrical panel. The cable that runs from the meter box to the panel has a hollow space inside that creates a perfect channel for moving water. Sometimes, water seeping through basement walls can get into the panel box, but this is less common.
Signs of Water Infiltration
The most obvious sign is you can see water inside your electrical panel or running or dripping out of it. Another common signal is corrosion and/or rust in the bottom of the service panel box or on the electrical terminals or circuit breakers. Ultimately, the corroded components can cause circuit breaker malfunctions and electrical fires.
What to Do if you Have Water, Rust or Corrosion in the Electrical Panel
Because water is a good conductor of electricity, don’t touch the breaker box if you can see water in it or coming out of it. Call a licensed electrician right away to replace the panel and circuit breakers. The panel box will need to be moved if it’s attached directly to cement or stone walls. The service drop cable should also be sealed to block further moisture infiltration.
In the Wichita area, call Graf Electric at 316-686-2090. Our experienced electrical contractors will ensure your home is safe and install a new electrical service panel right away.
Note: Water intrusion through your basement walls also impacts the structural integrity of your home, and should be addressed by a professional to prevent further issues.