NEMA Issues Paper on Evaluating Water-Damaged Electrical Equipment


The National Electrical Manufacturers Assn. has published a paper entitled, “Evaluating Water-Damaged Electrical Equipment.” The publication, which is an updated version of the paper, “Guidelines for Handling Water Damaged Electrical Equipment,” provides information to users of electrical products on how to evaluate electrical equipment that has been exposed to water through flooding, fire fighting activities and hurricanes.

Electrical equipment exposed to water can be extremely hazardous if reenergized without proper reconditioning or replacement. Reductions in integrity of electrical equipment due to moisture can affect the ability of the equipment to perform its intended function. Damage to electrical equipment can result from flood waters contaminated with chemicals, sewage, oil and other debris, which will affect the integrity and performance of the equipment. Ocean water and salt spray can also be particularly damaging due to the corrosive and conductive nature of the salt water residue. Distributors of electrical equipment should not supply any inventory that has been subjected to water damage.

A working knowledge of electrical systems and the equipment in question is needed to evaluate damage due to contact with water. The original manufacturer of the equipment should be contacted if questions arise or recommendations are needed. In many cases following water damage, replacement may be necessary. After consultation with the manufacturer, some larger types of electrical equipment may be reconditioned by properly trained personnel.

This revised publication provides specific guidance on whether products that have been exposed to water should be replaced or reconditioned. A table is provided showing the requirements and recommendations associated with various categories of electrical equipment that have been subject to water damage. If it is possible to recondition the equipment, additional information is provided so that the manufacturer of the equipment may be contacted for specific guidance.

A complimentary copy of Evaluating Water-Damaged Electrical Equipment may be downloaded by visiting NEMA’s website at .

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