Water coming out of breaker box

jeanie_bethJuly 24, 2009

I know this sounds crazy, but my sister has water coming out of her breaker box in the closet. The box is mounted in the wall about eye level or less. When you open the door on the breaker box, you can see water coming out of one of the "pipes" that has electrical wire in it. The "pipe" is entering the box on the bottom of the box. Lots of other electrical pipes with wires come into the box from above (the attic I assume) and sides.

Anyway, there is water coming out of the thing & it runs down the wall. No water lines anywhere near the closet.

Does this make sense? It just started and has been going on for a day or two. My sister is single & not sure who to call, a plumber or electrican or the water company.

Is this dangerous to be near? We keep sopping up the water with rags but it keeps slowly coming back up through the electrical pipe.

Any help is appreciated.

Jeanie Beth

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Electrician first, then maybe a plumber depending on what he can determine for the source of the water.

Yes, it is dangerous.

All but the purest water can conduct electricity very well from all the ions dissolved.

    Bookmark   July 24, 2009 at 12:16PM
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Yes, this is a serious problem.

The water can be from anywhere, outside, from an AC unit (my guess), etc. An electrician can probably track down the source as well as anyone.

    Bookmark   July 24, 2009 at 2:04PM
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hi there. have you had a lot of rain where you live? maybe heavy rain last night if you are on the east coast? i had the same problem a month ago. the problem was outside at the electric meter. the caulk around the outside the meter where main service wire comes in off the electric pole had cracked and caused water to enter the electric panel. i scrapped away the old caulk, used some plumbers putty and that fixed it.

good luck these guys/gals are great on this board and won't steer you wrong if you give them all pertinent info!


    Bookmark   July 24, 2009 at 3:24PM
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If you are unsure about anything, call a pro. Water and electricity can be a dangerous combination.

If you are trying to trouble shoot on your own, remember, water flows downhill. If water is coming up out of an area, that means that it is being pushed out. Generally, that happens when water is starting someplace higher even if it looks like it is coming from below.

Can you see which wires are going into the problem conduit? If so, you can look at which circuit breaker they are going to. eg if the water is in the line that goes to a bedroom, the chances are that the water is originating somewhere near/above the bedroom.

    Bookmark   July 24, 2009 at 4:42PM
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Thanks guys for all the info. My sister called a plumber today. He laughed at first but did come out and saw water was leaking out of the "conduit"--said he's not licensed to do electrical in city. Also told her not to call city water department until electrican looked at it as city inspector may shut whole house down and we'd have no AC. Plumber turned off breaker at no charge. He said he cannot detect a leaking water pipe. He's curious too as to what is source of water--AC is on opposite side of house too. Roof is fine and no holes on house either.
Anyway, we'll know more tomorrow as we have an electrican coming Saturday morning.

As long as we can take a shower and get water instead of gas or electricity, we are fine! :)

I'll post what happens tomorrow.

Thank you again guys!

Jeanie Beth & Sis

    Bookmark   July 24, 2009 at 7:50PM
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This can happen when a conduit runs outside underground and runs uphill to a point above the panel end.

    Bookmark   July 24, 2009 at 11:39PM
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Problem solved---you were right joefixit. Electrician came & conduit was going outside underground to dusk/dawn lamppost way in backyard. Backyard is hilly. Back in Spring kid mowing yard hit lamppost & bent it over with mower--straightened it back up & thought all was fine--light still worked. Dry summer at first--then last 2 weeks we get a lot of rain. Lamp post was higher than breaker box electrician said. We now have piped in rain water from yard via electric line!

I'm glad it's fixed. Guess this is a common problem after all. Thanks again to all of you!!

Jeanie Beth

He has fixed it now.

    Bookmark   July 25, 2009 at 10:26AM
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I'm glad your problem was solved. You mention the electrical panel being in a closet. What kind of closet? You cannot have an electrical panel around any combustable material.

    Bookmark   July 26, 2009 at 9:41AM
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