In elementary school, we are all taught how dangerous it is to mix water and electricity. An electric outlet is a receptacle for your electrical appliances’ plugs. These outlets can easily become wet if they are located outside at the mercy of the elements, or in your kitchen, bathroom, workstation ect. and you spill something on them. Once an electrical outlet gets wet, it can pose serious risks to your home.
What Happens If Water Gets In An Electrical Outlet?
No matter how your electrical outlet gets wet, it can be very dangerous to your home and the occupants living in it.
One of the biggest concerns is electrical shocks. Water in homes are filled with ions of salts and metal, hence it is a conductor of electricity. If you touch a wet electrical outlet, it can give you a nasty shock. If you try to put a plug inside a wet electrical outlet, it will most probably throw sparks or cause a short circuit, which can start a fire.
What To Do If Your Electrical Outlet Gets Wet?
Here are a few things you can do to make sure your home stays safe from any electricity-related hazards:
GFCI Outlet Shut Off: Ground fault circuit interrupter outlets are designed to automatically switch off when an electricity connection is interrupted, such as when moisture from the bathroom enters the socket. However, if the GFCI outlet has not shut off, you can do it manually yourself by pressing the reset and test buttons at the same time. If you own a voltage meter, you can use that to ensure your outlet is turned off. If water damage is extensive, you may need to get the help of a professional.
Breaker Box Shut Off: If several outlets have become wet, it is recommended to shut off the electric supply from the breaker box, even if the GFCI-rated outlets have shut down automatically. It is easy when your breakers are labeled; you can simply switch off the appropriate breaker to stop the current from flowing to the outlet. If your breakers are unlabeled, you can try flipping off all breakers until you find the problem circuit.
If you are still not certain the right breaker has been switched off, do not use or touch the outlet. Call for professional assistance. In a dire emergency, you can also turn off the main breaker.
Drying An Outlet: Do not touch a wet electrical outlet. However, you can attempt to place a protective wooden or plastic covering around it, so nobody accidentally touches it or bump into it. You can also try to dry it by blowing warm air into it with a blow dryer, or you can let it sit and dry overnight. However if the water damage is quite serious, such as when the room is flooded, you need to get an electrician to assess the outlet, fix it or replace it.
Playing with electricity is not a game. In fact, US News ranked it as one of the most stressful careers. If you perceive your house is at risk of an electric-related hazard, it is best to keep your family away from the source and let a professional handle the problem.