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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Posts
    3

    Question Electrified Water

    This is related to an Article by This Old House regarding Basement Flooding and the Danger of Electrified Water. It has me concerned and I would love an answer to my related question: If there was to ever be flooding in my basement, at what point does the water become electrified? Is it when it reaches the first bit of electrical devices? - in my case that would mean the water pump, and next would be the outlets (they are about 15 inches from floor level). Or is it when it reaches the service box? (which is about 4 feet above the floor level) The service box is in the basement and it is the only way to shut off the main power. (our water is supplied from our own in ground pump system)
    thank you!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    Pacific Northwet
    Posts
    1,365

    Default Re: Electrified Water

    I would say it can become electrified as soon as it comes into contact with live electrical wires. The size of the wire doesn't matter.

    In your case, it could be the pump (if the pump is running). Otherwise, it would be the pressure switch if that's lower than the outlets. Definitely when it hits the outlets it can become electrified.

    Do not assume that the fuse will blow or the circuit breaker will trip as soon as the water hits it. The conductivity of water is dependent on its purity. Pure water is close to being an insulator, but any impurities in the water may make it a conductor. Salt water can be a very good conductor.

    You may want to consider installing a main breaker in a location that isn't subject to flooding. You may also look into installing either a passive drain or a sump pump. If you have a flat, level lot, the passive drain -- exiting somewhere on your property below the level of your basement floor -- may not be possible.
    The "Senior Member" designation under my name doesn't mean I know a lot, it just means I talk a lot.I've been a DIYer since I was 12 (thanks, Dad!). I have read several books on various home improvement topics. I do not have any current code books I can refer to. I was an apprentice plumber for two years.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    Fayette County, Ohio
    Posts
    5,560

    Default Re: Electrified Water

    Generally speaking, the dirty water does not become "electrified" it does however becomes a part of the ground plain and if you are standing in it and touch a hot wire you can and probably will be electrocuted.
    Jack
    Be sure you live your life, because you are a long time dead.-Scottish Proverb

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    Lakeland ,MN
    Posts
    356

    Default Re: Electrified Water

    Best practice is to stay out of the water if an appliance or electrical outlet is under water
    Harry

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Posts
    3

    Default Re: Electrified Water

    Thank you so much for helping me figure this out I am perplexed about how to shut the power off if I am ever in this emergency! Forgive me if this is repetitive, but what would happen if I saw over a foot of water in the basement? If I waded into it, I'm guessing there's a chance of being electrocuted? Or, do I let it go until the circuit breaker blows and kills the power that way? And when do you think it would blow?

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    Fayette County, Ohio
    Posts
    5,560

    Default Re: Electrified Water

    If you are that concerned, have a disconnect installed at the meter.
    Jack
    Be sure you live your life, because you are a long time dead.-Scottish Proverb

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