With all this heavy rain in the area,I have calls for water seeping out of a customers panel...water traveling through the service entrance cable and into the panel. What do you do when you get this type of service call...
1) Find the source of water penetration and seal off. Dry panel out in someway and call it a day?
2) Stop water penetration and replace all breakers in the panel that were soaked in water?
3) Stop water penetration and replace the panel and breakers that were soaked in water?
Do the manurfacturers require replacement of equipment when water gets into the panel and breakers as described?
I am not sure what the manufactures require when breakers get soaked,(but I can guess), however I can tell you that I have witnessed this having caused the breakers to start heating up way to hot, long after they dried out, and then failing.
You need to do a complete inspection on the panel. Did the water just seep in and run down the walls of the enclosure? Did the breakers have water seep into the inside of the breaker? Did the water run down the buss? What type of water is it?
Breakers that have had water enter need to be replaced, as the water will damage the internal workings, and make them not function as required.
Water on the inside of the enclosure should not be a problem. Water inside of the cable is another thing. This could also cause damage to the conductors, so they may need to be replaced.
Bussbars are coated with a greaselike coating, so this may or may not be damaged. Use your own judgement on this. If there is a chance of future damage, replace.
Rain water is fairly clean, as compared to land water, so there may be less chance of damage from rainwater.
we had a call recently for this problem. after everything dried out, we still had water dripping from the main (150A Sq D QO) We determined that replacing the guts was the best course of action. We gave the customer a safe install and I can sleep at night with a few less worries.
"Do the manurfacturers require replacement of equipment when water gets into the panel and breakers as described?"
Sleep better, do the right thing, this is a common call for us, the water tight connector is usually not sealed properly, and you will usually find the expensive $2.79 service head, is also not positioned to avoid water entry, and for sure not sealed, what we do is put it in pipe, and let them know they had a low ball job to begin with.
[This message has been edited by LK (edited 11-23-2005).]
There was quite a bit of water coming in through the cable and trickling down the main bus and through the breakers to the bottom of the panel and dripping to the floor below.There were no signs of rust or corrosion in the panel or breakers.So I...
1) Sealed all possible points of water entry...SE cable weatherhead,meter socket, etc
2) Pulled meter to kill power, then removed every breaker and wiped and dried all signs of water off the main breaker, panel bus and breakers.
3) Replaced breakers at top that had excessive exposure to water.
I will visit the home at the next heavy rain to see if water is still getting in. There wasn't a need for complete replacement of the panel in this case, IMO.
In the past I have replaced panels beyond repair from water damage.
NEMA has information at this site on what they recommend for water damaged equipment...