If you had to give a electrical inspection for a home that had water damage. What would be your solution/suggestion to assure the home owner their safty? ( meger testing, AFCI testing, ohms testing or just completly re-wire the home?)
How extensive was the water damage. Was the house under water or just squirted with a <fire> hose? A megger checkout of the circuits most likely to be damaged would be a good start after you do a good visual inspection. Breakers that went underwater are certainly good candidates for replacement and replacing all the devices that were wet is not unreasonable. Ripping out all the Romex may be overkill but if the kraft paper was saturated it still may be reasonable. All that said, I have seen Romex that was underground and very wet, working fine, holding a GFCI.
The water line break was on the upper floor and most of the damage was done to the first floor ceiling and walls. The broken water line ran for a week before it was discovered. The owners have already removed the damaged drywall and has had dehumidifiers running for over a week. No water got to the breaker box.
If the water got into the boxes, I'd expect the Romex would wick up some of that water through the open ends of the cable assembly. I don't know how far into the cable that would go.
Is it possible to dry Romex that has taken up water? What if you put a low voltage current through the cable and brought it up to 50C (122F) and left it "baking" for a week? Still, I think it might be cheaper to replace it and recover the copper from the old cable.
This makes me think about mechanisms to protect water pipes in much the same way as GFCI protects electrical wiring. Of course, measuring return flow back into the sewer would be hard to do. But maybe a flow meter in the main that has a threshold where the flow rate has to fall below that level at least every N hours (such as 3 hours), and shuts everything off if the flow stays high too long, might work to avoid those extensive levels of damage from long term water flow. But this would be for a plumbers forum. It was just a thought.
Side track: I like the flow check Idea, Very useful for say a water heater,very practical idea with battery back up no less for those seasonal applications.Adjustable time, for main or small demands.Even a pressure switch for the water heater.
OK, Now that we got that outa the way.How old are the cables? I would do a good inspection of the cables, at a min, I would change all jumpers from box to box affected,all affected devices.The good news is usually once the water finds it's path it stays with it. Always think 'liability'.
Last edited by leland; 01/04/0905:15 PM. Reason: liability