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Ask an emergency electrician: 4 ways to deal with wet outlets

Water and electricity don’t mix, simple as that.

Unfortunately, sometimes it happens – in particular, in the kitchen or bathroom. While electrical outlets in these rooms need to follow strict guidelines outlining where they can be placed relative to taps, sinks and showers.

Of course, accidents happen.

So the worst has happened, and you’ve gotten one of your outlets wet. Luckily, it seems to be OK. However, that doesn’t mean that there’s no risk at all!

What can you do to keep yourself safe in the meantime?

Our 24 hour emergency electricians in Melbourne deal with these sorts of residential and commercial electrical issues on a daily basis – here are just some of the things you can do to keep yourself (and your family) safe when this happens.

Causes of wet electrical outlets

In our experience, there are a couple of causes that are especially common.

Say your house floods – while it’s rare, sometimes water makes it into ground-level outlets as a result (which is why you rarely see floor-level sockets in bathrooms and kitchens).

Another common cause is burst pipes. Many pipes run through the crawl space in your walls – when they burst, the water can affect outlets in that wall.

Roof leaks are another one. Water from a roof leak can drip onto power strips, while leaks near the corners of a room can drip down your wall onto your wall sockets.

Long story short? A lot of things can happen that can lead to wet powerpoints.

Of course, you aren’t here to read about the causes – no, you want to know what you need to do if it happens. And that brings us to the main point of today’s article…

What happens when water gets inside an electrical outlet?

When water gets inside an electrical outlet, there’s a danger, end of story! Not only will the outlet stop working but there’s also a high risk of electrical shock, burns, and short circuits.

Additionally, you might also need to worry about water or moisture ruining the internal wiring causing further damage that can be challenging to repair. Needless to say, you’ll want to avoid any of these outcomes!

Can a wet electrical outlet cause a fire?

In addition to some of the risks mentioned above, using a wet electrical outlet can also cause short circuits, which can result in overheated wires, which, as you may have guessed, can lead to electrical fire. Using a wet outlet can also cause significant damage to household appliances.

If you’re worried, we strongly recommend getting in touch with a 24 hour electrician in Melbourne. We’re trained for issues just like this – you can trust us to fix the problem efficiently, and to restore safety to your home for your family.

How long does it take for a plug socket to dry out?

While there’s no clear cut answer, we recommend avoiding the outlet for a minimum of 24 hours. The outlet will need to dry out naturally, so it is hard to give an estimate without knowing the extent of the water damage.

As such, we discourage at-home tips and tricks to dry your outlets faster, and instead urge you to contact your local electrician to ensure the best and safest possible outcome.

What to do if an electrical outlet gets wet?

Prevention is better than cure – if you ask us, the best way to stay safe is to take preventative action, waterproofing your sockets by sealing the edges of your mounts or keeping sockets plugged when not in use to stop water from getting in.

Of course, you can’t stop every accident or safety risk.

So: the worst has happened, and you’ve gotten water into your electrical outlets.

Water and moisture in electrical outlets can increase the current – after all, water is a conductor of electricity.

When water is present in electrical wirings, short circuits can happen causing wires to heat up and can even start electrical fires.

Fortunately, it doesn’t have to reach those levels. The moment you notice water getting into your outlets, don’t wait for it to dry out – instead, we suggest doing some of the following…

Check if your GFCI sockets have leapt into action

Water can cause electrical outlets to short-circuit and even ignite, presenting considerable risk.

To prevent this, our Melbourne electricians now use Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter (GFCI) sockets as standard.

Essentially, this is an automated safety feature that immediately activates when conditions are unsafe. In addition to things like power surges, they also activate when water gets into your electric outlets, cutting the power.

This helps protect you – while you won’t be able to use the socket, you also won’t have to worry about electrocution or fire.

Shutoff the power at the fuse box

Older homes often do not have GFCI outlets. However, you can still shut off your power manually.

What you’ll want to do is find your fuse box and shut the power off as quickly as possible.

If you ask our emergency electricians in Melbourne, everyone should be familiar with their fuse box – you need to know:

  • Where it’s located
  • What you need to switch
  • Which switch goes to which part of the house

Use a voltage meter

Never attempt to remove, repair or immediately use your electrical outlet, even if you’re “pretty sure” that it’s already dry.

Instead, what you should do (if possible, that is) is to test your outlet by using a reliable voltage meter (after you’ve made it safe by going to your fuse box first, of course).

The problem is that most people probably don’t know how to use a voltage meter – even fewer have one lying around in the first place!

Confused? We get it; it can certainly be puzzling. If you have any doubts, don’t risk it by trying to do it yourself. Instead, get in touch with Briggs’ emergency electricians right away.

emergency electrician in Melbourne

Consider complete replacement

Sometimes, the water damage is so severe that it’s simply safer to replace your socket or outlet altogether.

As with all electrical installations, it needs to be carried out by a licensed professional.

There are always risks when it comes to electricity – that’s why you need to take action if they accidentally mix with water.

In addition to replacing affected outlets and sockets, we can also upgrade them.

And we aren’t just talking about giving you GFCI outlets, either – we can also replace your existing outlets with ones that have more sockets and even USB ports for maximum convenience.

Worried about wet electrical outlets? Call our 24-hour emergency electricians in Melbourne!

An electrical emergency can’t wait – the moment one pops up, you need the expertise of an experienced and licensed electrician in Melbourne.

Our residential and commercial electricians in Melbourne come to you no matter the hour. Give us a call, and we’ll send someone over immediately.

And it isn’t just wet electrical outlets, either. We can also assist with a range of domestic and commercial electrical problems, including:

Stay safe every day of the year with Briggs Electrical. Call us 24/7 on 1300 300 222 or fill in the form to book a job with us!