Never go into a home that has standing water when the electric meter is still in place if the power is on you could potentially be electrocuted. Stay safe and wait until the water has receded.
Also, remember to let everything dry out completely before turning on breakers or switches and plugging items into outlets.
If the water didn’t reach high enough to touch any of the outlets then electrically the home should be fine after the water recedes.
If the water did reach over the outlets, then the regular outlets should be ok once the outlets dry out. The chances are likely that the wires were protected inside their sheathing and inside the walls, unless some of the wiring was cut for any reason the wiring behind the walls should stay intact. Typically, there are outlets installed inside the home with a reset button in the middle called a GFCI outlet. These outlets sense moisture and trip when one of the outlets that the GFCI controls gets wet to help prevent electrocution. These GFCI outlets have more technology inside them than regular outlets and would likely be ruined if they filled with water.
Typically, only about 4-6 GFCI outlets are required in the home to be fully protected by the current electrical code. The National Electrical Code section 210.8 is all about Ground Fault Protection and where it’s required. GFCI protection is required in bathrooms, garages, outdoor circuits, kitchens, boathouses, laundry areas, and any outlets within 6 ft of the outside edge of a sink, bathtub or shower stall.
Floodwaters could potentially ruin regular switches, but they’re more likely to affect dimmers, smart switches or timers that may be installed.
Appliances that have circuit boards inside will almost certainly need to be replaced. Any gas appliances like the stove, water heater or dryer that plug into a standard outlet, the outlet can be tested with a lamp. However, any electric appliances are going to be 220 volt rated outlets and would need to be checked by a voltmeter if you have any doubt that the outlet works. A voltmeter could be purchased at any hardware store, or if you’re unsure about using one, give an electrician a call to come to test the outlets.
If you have any questions about the AC unit outside, then it’s best to give an HVAC company a call first. Typically, when there’s an issue with an AC unit, it’s a 50/50 chance whether it’s an HVAC issue or an electrical issue. In a flood scenario is more likely to be an HVAC issue, an electrician may also be needed, but an HVAC tech will be able to determine if an electrician is required.
Main Electrical Service
During a storm, it’s not uncommon to receive calls about limbs or whole trees falling on the overhead power lines and tearing the meter and electrical system off the wall. In this case, the power company will come to take the electric meter off the home until the electrical service has been rebuilt. This type of service is typically something that needs an electrician out within a few days and in the City of Austin requires an emergency permit. Any work that requires an electrician to handle the meter or main breaker panel replacement requires a permit from the home’s permitting jurisdiction.
Your safety is top priority so if you have any doubts about the electrical system in your home, call an electrician.
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