Water damage is a devastating event that can occur in any commercial building. Unfortunately, just about everything can be affected when water hits. Most notably, the meeting of water and electricity is a recipe for disaster. It’s something that needs to be considered heavily when dealing with floods. Any electrical wires that are affected by water damage can be extremely dangerous and need to be dealt with extreme caution.
The first initial water damage can cause all kinds of damage to the electrical system if not cared for properly, namely appliances and varieties of devices. Here are some things to keep in mind when dealing with water damage and electricity in:
Water is a huge conductor of electricity, which is why water and electricity are such a dangerous combination. Avoid entering a flooded area until a professional has shut off the electricity to the building to ensure your safety. Even if the power is out, you can still be electrocuted in a flooded basement if someone is running a generator nearby and back-feeding electricity into the damaged electrical grid.
Buzzing wires after a heavy storm or flood is usually an indicator of damaged wires or appliances. The noise usually indicates there is a charge present and trying to handle it will send an electrical current through your body. Not only that, but tools, equipment, and even standing water can be electrified, causing damage to your body with a strong shock.
Unfortunately, the interiors of buildings are not designed to withstand any sort of water. Because of that, most components in a commercial building will need to be replaced after a flood occurs, especially electrical components. Even if they were exposed to water for a brief amount of time, they will need to be replaced. This includes wiring, circuit panels, fuse boxes, and even outlets and switches. Flooding causes wire corrosion and failure issues, so you should assume that you will need to replace any wiring that was below the waterline to avoid any sort of electrical danger.
To avoid having to replace large appliances and equipment, do not turn them on for an extended period of time. Appliances with insulation that get wet will have to be replaced, as the damp insulation itself cannot be replaced. Electrical equipment, such as computers, can be fried internally if too much moisture is inside. Make sure you let all of your appliances and equipment dry for at least a week before turning them on.
If damaged wires and other electrical items affected by a flood aren’t taken care of properly, there are huge potentials for electrical fires to occur in the building. Wires may be exposed and make contact with unintended and ungrounded surfaces. The heat can build up and your material could catch fire.
The best way to have a sound mind when entering a building affected by water damage is to reach out to professionals. Water damage shouldn’t be taken lightly and is not a fun do-it-yourself project. Experts at ICC have the knowledge and experience you need to begin your commercial water damage restoration to ensure that you and your employees can be safe in the building in the aftermath.