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  1. #1
    Gregg Austensen's Avatar
    Gregg Austensen Guest

    Question Water in electrical panel

    Found 1/2 dozen water drops hanging from the branch wires at the breakers in the panel. The panel is in the laundry room. There was no eveidence of roof leaks in the attic above and the only plumbing was DWV near by but again no signs of water. There was no corrosion on any of the wires. I'm thinking condensation but I would expect that the wiring would need to be signifcantly cooler than the air temp which it was not. Has anybody have any ideas on this? I'll post a pic later.
    Thanks!

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  2. #2
    Richard Rushing's Avatar
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    Default Re: Water in electrical panel

    Gregg,

    Has it rained there (your area) lately?

    I often see panels that have moisture intrusion that has come in from the drip loop... Is that a possibility?

    rr


  3. #3
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    Default Re: Water in electrical panel

    Doesn't even need to be the service entrance conductors.

    Any conductor/cable exiting the panel and going up and outdoors (through the wall or roof, anywhere higher than the panel) and it can bring rain in on the conductor/cable.

    When I used to have my office in a 3 story office building, my landlord had a persistent roof leak they could never find. After tracking the leak down by removing ceiling tiles in the 3rd floor offices, I found water running down wires coming from the condenser units on the roof. I went up on the roof and found an EMT coupling has come apart, allowing rain to enter that conduit, from there, there was no other place for that water to go other than down inside the building to the junction box it came from, then from that junction box down inside another conduit to another junction box, then to another, where it finally leaked out of a junction box, where it showed up as a 'roof leak right there - every time it rains'.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Water in electrical panel

    On overhead service I've encountered cracked weather head or cracked or absent face plates where the wires enter and on underground service what we can't see but is later found out is breeches in the sub terrain conduits causing condensation inside the panel.

    Was there an exhaust fan in the laundry and please tell me that the dryer exhausted to the exterior and not into one of those reservoir contraptions?

    Glad it was just on the wires for you to observe and not energizing the equipment. Work safe!

    badair http://www.adairinspection.com Garland, TX 75042 TREC # 4563
    Commercial-Residential-Construction-EIFS-Infrared Thermography
    life is the random lottery of events followed by numerous narrow escapes

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Water in electrical panel

    Quote Originally Posted by BARRY ADAIR View Post
    on underground service what we can't see but is later found out is breeches in the sub terrain conduits causing condensation inside the panel.
    Barry,

    Know what's missing when that happens?

    300.5 Underground Installations.
    - (G) Raceway Seals. Conduits or raceways through which moisture may contact energized live parts shall be sealed or plugged at either or both ends.
    - - FPN: Presence of hazardous gases or vapors may also necessitate sealing of underground conduits or raceways entering buildings.

    The raceway is required to be sealed, usually a duct seal (flexible, clay-like material) material is used to poke in and around the conductors, sealing around everything as best possible. Well, should be 'as best possible, I've found it 'just poked in there around the front', apparently the electrician either did not know what it was for, he was just told to put some in there, or, they thought no one would look to see how it was put in.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  6. #6
    Gregg Austensen's Avatar
    Gregg Austensen Guest

    Default Re: Water in electrical panel

    Thanks for the input guys. The electricial service was below ground so that ruled out the service conductors. The insulation was blown cellulose and should have shown some sign of a leak if it came from above. We had rain but its has been several days to nearly a week. Based on what was in the area above the panel It might end up being the DWV but again I would have expected to see som evidence of water around the DWV at the insulation.


  7. #7
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    Default Re: Water in electrical panel

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    Barry,

    Know what's missing when that happens?

    300.5 Underground Installations.
    - (G) Raceway Seals. Conduits or raceways through which moisture may contact energized live parts shall be sealed or plugged at either or both ends.
    - - FPN: Presence of hazardous gases or vapors may also necessitate sealing of underground conduits or raceways entering buildings.

    The raceway is required to be sealed, usually a duct seal (flexible, clay-like material) material is used to poke in and around the conductors, sealing around everything as best possible. Well, should be 'as best possible, I've found it 'just poked in there around the front', apparently the electrician either did not know what it was for, he was just told to put some in there, or, they thought no one would look to see how it was put in.
    Jerry,

    You mean to tell me caulk or spray foam is not approved?

    badair http://www.adairinspection.com Garland, TX 75042 TREC # 4563
    Commercial-Residential-Construction-EIFS-Infrared Thermography
    life is the random lottery of events followed by numerous narrow escapes

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Water in electrical panel

    Gregg,

    Found the same thing today. Of course mine was easy to determine why.

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  9. #9
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    Default Re: Water in electrical panel

    Quote Originally Posted by Rick Hurst View Post
    Found the same thing today. Of course mine was easy to determine why.
    Rick,

    That would not cause water in the mast, that would just rot out the roof sheathing and the soffit below.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Water in electrical panel

    Quote Originally Posted by Gregg Austensen View Post
    The electricial service was below ground so that ruled out the service conductors.
    If the underground service went to that panel (as in that panel is the service equipment), then you have not ruled it out - not if the riser is not sealed.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  11. #11
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    Default Re: Water in electrical panel

    Jerry,

    Its difficult to see in that picture but the service mast is actually sleeved into another pipe (different problem). Water has penetrated this area and dripped into this particular service equipment panel.


  12. #12
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    Default Re: Water in electrical panel

    Quote Originally Posted by Rick Hurst View Post
    Its difficult to see in that picture but the service mast is actually sleeved into another pipe (different problem).
    BIG different problem.

    You sure it was sleeved an not into a coupling (which would not be good anyway)?

    Water has penetrated this area and dripped into this particular service equipment panel.
    Okay, you got me there, I never have seen one sleeved into another pipe. *IF* that is "sleeved", then water would still not enter the panel, thus, being as water has entered the panel, it tells me that is not "sleeved", but something else.

    Here is my 'guess' as to that 'something else':

    The mast was too short, bent, damaged, whatever, so it was cut off at the roof line, a longer, smaller diameter (next size down) mast was inserted down into the larger mast, something somewhere 'may' have been used to secure it in place, or, the smaller pipe 'may' has just be stuck down in as far as it would go. Then the service entrance conductors replaced.

    Seem plausible for that?

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  13. #13
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    Default Re: Water in electrical panel

    Jerry,

    Very much possible. This house has had a previous fire which destroyed this area of the roof.

    rick


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