Photo By Zastolskiy Victor at Shutterstock
When your toilet overflows or your plumbing springs a leak, your first thought is to call the plumber and take action to stop the problem. While the water is filtering through your subfloor or dripping inside your walls, though, another problem may be developing in your Conway, SC home. Water, especially after it has been traveling and picking up contaminants, can cause significant damage to your home’s electrical wiring and fixtures. In addition to your plumber, or if there’s a leak in your roof, whenever water is penetrating your home’s walls and other spaces where electrical equipment is located, it’s time to call our emergency electrician to minimize the damage and make repairs. At Mister Sparky of Myrtle Beach, we’ve seen the tragic results when corroded wires cause ignition and fire in the walls of homes, and we know how far water can travel along wires and inside wiring insulation. Our emergency electrician is ready to help you avoid danger, identifying your risks as soon as water leaks have occurred.
Types of Water-Related Electrical Damage
Water by itself can corrode electrical equipment, through direct contact or even an excessively moist environment. Copper wires are particularly susceptible, but all electrical equipment is subject to damage by water in the right conditions or when they are already physically damaged and water has the opportunity to infiltrate. As leaks discharge water in your walls and other locations where various building materials are located, contaminants that the water picks up along the way may make it more corrosive and change the degree of damage that occurs, both from the water itself and from materials left behind when the water evaporates. Our emergency electrician has training and experience with these kinds of problems, and can thoroughly investigate the possibility of damage that occurs through compound effects. Not all damage will be evident as soon as water and electricity mix, some will develop and create risks that emerge later on.
Where the Water Flows
Some leaks, such as from a nail driven through a wall that hits a pipe, are immediately obvious from the spray and dripping water, or sounds of these effects occurring inside the wall. Other leaks occur randomly, such as damage to pipes over time as they vibrate due to valve operations down the line, and knock against other pipes or metal pipe hangers or even nails protruding nearby. For serious pipe vibration problems and pressure transients that can damage valves and appliances, washing machines and dishwashers are typically fitted with water hammer arrestors. These easily located water leaks can guide our emergency electrician to locate potential water damage from spray and water dripping down.
Some sources of leaks, however, may occur slowly, even from pinhole pipe damage and corrosion weakening pipe walls, producing puddles inside the wall over time that may reveal themselves through the odor of mold growth, moisture-related wall damage to paint and wallpaper, and buckling wood material affected by moisture changes such as wooden floors. The pooling water may then travel down wooden structural members, the pipes themselves, even electrical wiring until it reaches a point where it can be detected. Plumbers can locate many types of leaks with electronic equipment these days, and then follow the water flow path from the origin.
How the Plumber Finds Leaks and What It Says About Electrical Problems
In the past, the emergency electrician and plumber could work together, exposing areas inside the walls and inspecting the extent of leaks and the source. These days, ultrasonic leak detection equipment and video gear allow plumbers to find leaks without opening walls and other enclosed spaces and target repairs with a minimum of cutting through. The emergency electrician needs to be aware of where the leaking water has affected electrical wiring, which may take a different path than the plumbing repairs. Remediation of leak-related damage may also require opening wall spaces and performing repairs to avoid or remove mold growth, and wiring can be inspected at the same time. Our emergency electrician’s experience is key, knowing where to look for water-related electrical problems for best results and minimal repair needs.
Ceiling fixtures are common targets of leaking water as it travels from a bathroom above and finds the fixture opening as the path of least resistance leading downward. Damage to the fixture can be extensive, affecting wiring connections, light bulb sockets, and other components. Our emergency electrician can determine the extent of the problem and whether the fixture must be replaced or can be restored, especially if it is particularly valuable. Sconces, recessed lighting, and switches all need to be checked if they are at risk of water damage.
Outlets and Protective Devices
One sign of hidden water leak problems is a frequently tripping GFCI outlet or, recently, GFCI and AFCI circuit breakers. When water causes unseen wiring problems, the frequent tripping of the GFCI outlet can lead to an electrician call and discovery of hidden problems. This is even more likely for outdoor wiring that’s protected by GFCI since weather and the change of seasons can damage outlets and other aging outdoor electrical equipment and result in water-related electrical problems. If your home is not yet protected by GFCI circuit breakers and AFCI protection that responds to arc faults common when wiring defects are present, our electricians can install them.
Your home’s power source passes through the wall to your circuit breaker panel, with weather protection to ensure rainstorms don’t blow water right into your home’s main wiring. If water seeps in through the foundation sill or other paths, it’s possible that your circuit breaker panel could be water damaged. Our emergency team of electricians can help with this serious problem.
Your Knowledgeable Emergency Electrician in Conway, SC
Trust Mister Sparky of Myrtle Beach with all your urgent electrical needs in Conway, SC, including risks that arise when water reaches your wiring. Call us to be sure.