Electrical equipment exposed to water can be extremely hazardous if re-energized without proper reconditioning or replacement, according to the National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA). Reductions in the integrity of electrical equipment due to moisture can affect the equipment’s ability to perform as designed.
NEMA is offering its publication, Evaluating Water-Damaged Electrical Equipment, free to maintenance workers, electrical inspectors, building officials, and others.
Damage to electrical equipment can result from floodwaters contaminated with chemicals, sewage, oil and other debris. Ocean water and salt spray also can be particularly damaging, due to the corrosive and conductive nature of the saltwater residue. Distributors of electrical equipment should not supply any inventory subjected to water damage.
Technicians need a working knowledge of electrical systems and the equipment in question to evaluate damage due to contact with water. They should contact the original equipment manufacturer if questions arise. In many cases following water damage, replacement might be required. Properly trained personnel might be able to recondition some larger types of electrical equipment after consulting with the manufacturer.