Shock To The System: Ensuring Your Home's Electrical Systems Are Safe To Use After Flood Damage

Dealing with flood damage to your home is never an enjoyable prospect, and even a relatively small quantity of water within your walls can do significant damage to your home's furniture, fixtures and fittings. However, few parts of your home are as vulnerable to flooding and water damage as the electrical systems that provide power to your appliances and electronics. As you can imagine, flood water and live electrical circuits can be a dangerous mix, and using electrical systems that have been exposed to flooding without taking proper precautions is distinctly inadvisable.

Ensuring that you don't meet with any unfortunate electrical accidents after a flood, or cause inadvertent damage to your home's wiring and circuitry, need not be a difficult task. By taking the following simple precautions, you can protect both yourself and your property from the effects of flood damaged electrics, and get a safe, effective power supply up and running in your home as soon as possible.

Deactivate fuses and breakers

A live wire is much more dangerous and vulnerable to damage during a flood than an inactive one, so your first task should be to deactivate all of your home's electrical wiring and circuits by deactivating them at your home's fuse and/or breaker box. Ideally, this should be done before the floodwaters actually arrive, and it is usually the last thing a homeowner does before they evacuate. 

If you are unable to switch off your fuses and breakers before the waters hit, they should be deactivated as soon as you return to your stricken home. Take care, however; if the flood was particularly serious, the fuse/breaker box itself may be damaged and dangerous to use. If you see any signs of scorching, electrical arcing or overheating in and around your fuse/breaker box, or if water has infiltrated the box itself, the safest option is to give it a wide berth and call in an emergency electrician service to safely deactivate your fuses and breakers.

Have your wiring inspected

Depending on the height of the floodwaters, none, some or all of the electrical wiring located within the walls and ceilings of your home may be damages, and without proper expertise there is little way the average homeowner can know which sections of wiring are damaged and which are safe to use. You should therefore call in an electrical inspection service to ascertain the scale of the damage and repair and/or replace any sections of wiring which are no longer fit for use.

Checking the safety of your wiring does not necessarily mean knocking holes in your walls to inspect it directly, as an emergency electrician can use current measuring devices to ascertain whether a wiring circuit is functioning normally without actually having to inspect it. However, since sections of your interior walls may need to be replaced anyway due to water damage, calling in electrical inspectors at the same time you are having your walls repaired can be a good way to save time, allowing them to inspect your wires directly as the damaged wall materials are removed.

Replace your sockets

If the water that flooded your home came from a relatively clean source, such as a burst water main, your emergency electrician may be able to simply dry out your existing wiring and put it back to use, rather than replacing it. However, whether the flood waters were clean or contaminated, you will almost certainly need to replace the plug sockets in your home, as their open design and the positions close to ground level make them especially vulnerable to flood damage. If you do not feel comfortable replacing damaged sockets yourself, have them replaced professionally.

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About Me

Electrical Dos and Don'ts In The Home When it comes to renovating a home, there are a lot of things you can do, and quite a few you should not! I am renovating my first home, and I have learned a lot simply by watching home handyman videos. However, when it comes to electrical work, I am limited by both safety and legal restrictions. My electrician will do the brunt of the rewiring work, but I am using this blog to help you identify causes of electrical faults; so you can bring to the attention of your own electrician. I will also discuss the basics of home electrical systems, such as what circuit breakers do, so you have a better idea where to start looking when the power goes out.