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Electricians? Help! Emergency!

Discussion in 'Off-Topic Discussion' started by dtrujillo63, Feb 15, 2009.

  1. Feb 15, 2009 at 9:59 PM
    #1
    dtrujillo63

    dtrujillo63 [OP] Well-Known Member

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    I opened my breaker box to turn on a switch and noticed tons of water drops/moist inside the box :eek:. This breaker box is indoor, no leaks of any kind near by. Any idea what can be causing this? I take it this is super dangerous and should call someone right away?
     
  2. Feb 15, 2009 at 10:53 PM
    #2
    CAdiveTaco

    CAdiveTaco Well-Known Member

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    Is your panel on a interior wall or exterior? This may be condensation as a result of warm and cool air mixing within the wall and the cool steel on the electrical panel allowing the water droplets to form and collect.
    Be very care full doing anything in a live electrical panel, if the panel is in a room or area you can secure you may want to leave the panel open for a little while to dry out.
    If it is just a few drops I'd say for now your ok, the water will only become a problem if or when the water touch's a hot to ground or direct short. I would plan on shutting down your main and drying that panel out really well and inspecting it very closely.
    When you are able to shut the main down look for air leaks, or seal up the openings that the wire or conduit are using to enter the panel.
     
  3. Feb 15, 2009 at 10:54 PM
    #3
    eordonez

    eordonez Living vicariously through mjp2

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    +1 on condensation
     
  4. Feb 15, 2009 at 11:07 PM
    #4
    wing103

    wing103 Well-Known Member

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    I am a electrician, I see that once before.... In my case. the water is coming from the service wire get into the meter and from the meter fellow the wire get into the panel.
    check the duct seal, check outside the house.... also look on the pnael, dose it start to rust?
    What kind of wall you got? Brick? Wood? plasta?
    How old is the electrical service?
    What kind of Panel breaker or fuses?

    Please get a license electrician to get it done, I will say, replace the main service, meter and a new panel.
     
  5. Feb 16, 2009 at 5:11 AM
    #5
    WNYTACOMA

    WNYTACOMA Well-Known Member

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    I inspect homes for a living and see this often. First off, stay the hell away from the panel! A wet panel is nothing to screw with and should be left to an electrician.

    As far as how it (the water) got in there, where it attaches to the homes exterior, is the service wire looped over to prevent water from getting in at the top? (Upside down candy cane look) If it isn't it should be and this is one possible place water could enter.

    Is the outside cable itself shot? Is the protective outer 'skin' intact on that outside cable? If not, this can allow water in and into the service equipment (aka 'Main panel') by way of water adhesion on that cable into the home.

    The same entry can occur when the seal above the meter is not adequate. Is there any seal preventing water entry there? Electricians putty is cheap and if the existing seal there cannot be reformed, it can be replaced. Just remember, the power to the house is going through that cable. Do NOT dig at it with a knife of like tool to remove old sealant.

    Is the seal below the meter where the cable enters the home instact / adequate? If not, it should be. That is the last possible exterior source if i am visioning what you have there. Again, the power to the house is going through that cable. Do NOT dig at it with a knife of like tool to remove old sealant.

    I have opened them during inspections and found little streams flowing into the panel through the cable, especially when they are facing the 'weather side's of the home. In other words, the direction where the weather / wind generally hits the home from. Sometimes roof or gutter runoff above those areas combined with the openings / inadequate seals will result in the conditions you describe.

    One again, stay the hell away from the panel! A wet panel is nothing to screw with and should be left to an electrician.
     
  6. Feb 16, 2009 at 1:58 PM
    #6
    wing103

    wing103 Well-Known Member

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    You are right. Stay away from it, if you are not an electrician.:D
     
  7. Feb 16, 2009 at 2:41 PM
    #7
    RoyB

    RoyB Well-Known Member

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    As others have said, problably from the service entrance. Is it an overhead service or underground? And if its leaking in the panel from the service that means your meter is probably leaking as well.

    Is your panel on a brick/concrete wall or other? This is why you need to have plywood behind the panel here if it's on a stone wall.

    Also, just because nothing shorted out doesn't mean its ok. Copper oxidizes when it gets wet. If you have a copper panel then you can get oxidation between the breakers and service wires and eventually cause a short that way as well.
     
  8. Feb 16, 2009 at 2:48 PM
    #8
    WNYTACOMA

    WNYTACOMA Well-Known Member

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    ...and if it is a Federal Pacific panel with Stab Lok breakers like the POS i inspected today, get rid of it...

    Just kidding. (Well. not really)

    Just checking back to see if he provided more information...
     
  9. Feb 16, 2009 at 2:55 PM
    #9
    RoyB

    RoyB Well-Known Member

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    aint that the truth. I had a federal pacific in my house. what garbage. I Took the cover off and couldn't put it back on because every time I did a breaker would lose connection :rolleyes:

    ended up changing it last month. sucker barely fit. now i need to wait for it to get above freezing so i can put real wires in. Also, when i redo my kitchen and finish pulling my basement i will pretty much use all of the spaces :cool:

    [​IMG]
     
  10. Feb 16, 2009 at 3:47 PM
    #10
    surfsupl

    surfsupl Well-Known Member

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    We are getting a hell of allot of rain today. 3-5 inches. Do you have a bad weather head?
     
  11. Feb 16, 2009 at 3:59 PM
    #11
    WildcatRider

    WildcatRider Well-Known Member

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    I had one of these in a house I lived in while in college, which my parents bought and me and some friends paid rent.

    The inspector was pretty much like "get that panel the F out of the house right now"

    My parents made the owners replace it before they bought the house, it was something like a $3000 job :eek:
     
  12. Feb 16, 2009 at 4:01 PM
    #12
    FlawedXJ

    FlawedXJ mall crawlin', web wheelin', concrete cowboy

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    Are your utilities above or below ground? I would guess above ground. I've been doing home inspections with my fathers company on and off and one time we ran into a wet fuse box inside was because the water was running along the lines coming in and building up in the box.
     
  13. Feb 16, 2009 at 4:08 PM
    #13
    surfsupl

    surfsupl Well-Known Member

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    Look at the flashing around the pipe coming out of the roof that is supplying power to your panel. Be careful and don't fall off the roof. Better to do it when its dry.
     
  14. Feb 16, 2009 at 4:58 PM
    #14
    WNYTACOMA

    WNYTACOMA Well-Known Member

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    Yep, 'Stab Lok' my ass...

    Those things practically jump out at you when you remove the cover to check for problems.

    KIDS - DON'T TRY THIS AT HOME!

     
  15. Feb 16, 2009 at 5:03 PM
    #15
    WNYTACOMA

    WNYTACOMA Well-Known Member

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    I can always tell whether the water is entering from the outside by whether or not i see staining on the SEC just inside the box.

    He would be able to tell if he could remove the cover, but thats the last things he needs to be doing with a wet panel or any panel for that matter.

    As Clint said in the Outlaw Josie Wales, "Dying aint much of a living, Boy"...
     
  16. Feb 16, 2009 at 6:44 PM
    #16
    RoyB

    RoyB Well-Known Member

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    siemens is the best there is imo. our supplier switched to cutler hammer for a while, what complete garbage. square d isnt much better. granted they all use the same style breakers now....i put a 3phase CH 200amp panel in a condo as a sub feed. One stupid neutral bar on it.


    Here is the original main panel, I think it was a GE:
    [​IMG]

    and the sub panel I put in:

    [​IMG]
     
  17. Feb 17, 2009 at 5:41 AM
    #17
    Crusher 2

    Crusher 2 Well-Known Member

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    Round here... We say FPE stands for: Fix Prior to Energizing or F**kin Piece of Excrement!
     
  18. Feb 18, 2009 at 3:11 PM
    #18
    RoyB

    RoyB Well-Known Member

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    why is that? I don't have too much experience with the newer square d stuff.
     
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