Wet electrical outlets pose a serious risk in your home. Taking immediate steps can reduce risks and allow you time to replace or repair the affected outlet. These tips can help you decide how to manage a wet outlet in your home.
GFCI Outlet Shutoff
GFCI, or ground fault circuit interrupter, outlets are designed to shut off when the flow of electric is interrupted. The shutoff is automatic and can occur when small amounts of water, such as humidity in the bathroom, enters the outlet.
Turning the outlet off can help prevent water damage caused by excess humidity. To shut off a wet GFCI outlet manually, press the reset and test buttons simultaneously. Test the outlet with a voltage meter to ensure the outlet is off. More severe water damage requires taking additional steps.
Water causes an interruption that makes the outlet quit working, but the wires connected to the outlet may carry a live electrical current. The live current poses both an electrocution hazard and a fire risk. To minimize risks, you need to turn the power off at the breaker box as quickly as possible.
Breaker Box Shutoff
Shutting the power off at the breaker box is recommended when you have a wet outlet, even if the outlet is GFCI-rated and has already stopped working. If your breakers are labeled, just flip the appropriate breaker to the off position to stop the electrical current from flowing to the wet outlet.
Unlabeled breakers require flipping the breakers off until you find the right one. Test the outlet with a voltage meter to ensure the right breaker is turned off, or call a professional for assistance in finding the right breaker. Do not remove, use, or repair the outlet if you aren’t positive the appropriate breaker is switched to the off position.
If several outlets have water damage, consider turning the power off at the main breaker. The main breaker is typically located in a breaker box on your electric pole. Do not attempt to flip the main breaker unless you are familiar with its location to prevent potentially serious injuries.
How to Dry Out an Outlet
Typically, it is best to replace outlets that are damaged by water, especially when outlets exposed to significant amounts of water. If your home is flooded, consider turning the power off at the main breaker until the damage is professionally assessed.
If you need further assistance, the electricians at Bryant Electric Services in Austin, Texas can help you assess damage and make the necessary repairs for a safer home electrical system. Contact us today to schedule an appointment.