How Water Gets Into Electrical Panels
“I happened to be outside after a heavy rainstorm and noticed water flowing from my electrical panel. Is this normal?”
Phone calls like this one come in every once in a while. And our answer:
“While it shouldn’t be happening, we do see the problem again and again.”
A wet electrical panel with water flowing from it is never a good sign. Water conducts electricity. It will also corrode the inside of an electrical panel in a short amount of time.
When your home was built, an electrical meter was installed to bring electricity into your home. This electrical meter has a cable entering the meter and a cable from the meter to the electrical panel inside your home. These are your meter box cables.
Water has the ability to penetrate almost anything through cracks, holes or openings. Meter box cables are not solid; they have space between the cable covering and the wires housed inside. These meter box cables are often the culprit for bringing water into your electrical panel. When it rains, water penetrates the cables through tiny cracks and holes, and is funneled into your electrical panel where it can do all kinds of damage.
If you see water flowing from the electrical panel, you may have to replace the circuit breaker panel. Corrosion and mechanical failure are just two of the serious problems that occur when your electrical panel becomes wet.
Inside your electrical panel are a series of circuit breakers. These circuit breakers are designed like a mouse trap; if the metal expands within the breaker, it triggers a tiny spring to snap, shutting down the circuit. Metal and water don’t mix. Over time, metal will corrode and cause both stickiness and malfunction. And if the “trap” won’t break the circuit when problems arise, it puts you and your family at risk within your home.
If you have damaged meter box cables, or if you notice water flowing from your electrical panel, it’s time to call a licensed electrician in and have them take a look at the situation immediately.