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water and electricity

What happens?I think we have all seen the TV/Movie version of someone in a bathtub and a hairdrier or a radio gets accidentialy/on purpose dropped into the water and ZAP,SPARKS, BANG,BOOM and the person is dead. Today I helped a customer who had 24" of water in their basement. Several 115v  outlets and 2-  220v outlets were submerged in the water, along with a 220v condensate pump for the AC unit. The circuit breaker panel is 30' away ,thru the indoor pond.So, is the water electrified? Did the breakers trip?I hooked up a sump pump and lowered it into the water and started pumping away .What will I find when I am able to get to the C.B. panel?An electrician said the water would be ALIVE,I don't know!!!!!


  • Steamhead
    Steamhead Member Posts: 15,331
    I would have waited

    until power to the building was cut off.

    The breakers should have tripped, but why take the chance?
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    Towson, MD, USA
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
  • Techman
    Techman Member Posts: 2,144

    thanks for the reply. I did not go into the water to put in the sump pump .I was on a higher level of the basement  standing on dry concrete The water was in a lower portion  of the basement , that next level was about 24" down with about 16" of water ,then another stepdown to the lowest section with about 24-28"of water .
  • geno54
    geno54 Member Posts: 43
    Water completes the path

    5 years ago when we had the last heavy rains and flooded basements, I had about a foot of water in my basement. Mostly everything is high enough off the floor to not be a problem with the exception of the electric clothes dryer. When I waded through the basement and passing the dryer I felt heat coming out of it. I'm guessing the water created a path enough to energize the electric element
  • Eugene Silberstein
    Eugene Silberstein Member Posts: 1,380
    Science Experiment

    The truth of the matter...

    Water itself is NOT a conductor of electricity, but the stuff that comes out of the tap is...

    What makes tap water a conductor is all of the impurities in the water. If you try to complete an electric circuit with distilled water, you will find that water is, in fact, a very good insulator.

    Water from the tap will conduct electricity, but not as well as metallic substances. If you were to set up a flashlight-type circuit and use various substances to complete the circuit, you will find that items such as paperclips will cause the buld to burn brightly, but tap water will only cause the bulb to burn dimly. Distilled water will not allow the bulb to light at all.

    Sounds like the makings of a great sicence fair project!
  • TonyS
    TonyS Member Posts: 849
    This must be the reason

    I dont get electrocuted when I touch an electric pole in a rain storm ? 
  • Eugene Silberstein
    Eugene Silberstein Member Posts: 1,380
    Oh the smell of sarcasm!

    Gotta love it!

  • TonyS
    TonyS Member Posts: 849
    Actually Eugene

    Thats what I read somewhere, but I always wondered why the dust in the rain and the pollen wouldnt jump that current down a pole? By the way, I just finished your book "HEAT PUMPS" it was excellent
  • Eugene Silberstein
    Eugene Silberstein Member Posts: 1,380
    Thank you Sir

    Thanks for the kind words. Glad you enjoyed it. We are working on a new one that stresses the geothermal end of the business a lot more.

    Thanks for posting!

    Here's to a great summer!
  • Frenchie
    Frenchie Member Posts: 113
    water in basement

    Geno, were you wearing waders or something when you passed that dryer??  or were your legs actually wet?  I have always been afraid of what would happen if my basement flooded. ( also have 220V dryer )  I would be afraid to even set foot in the basement at all.
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