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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
See who can get the correct answer.

Several years ago, our town had a bad rainstorm and many houses were flodded. One guy told me his electrical panel was covered with water but he did not loose power to the house. Another guy told me at his daughters house, if you open the basement door, the water was to the top of the basement steps but you could look down stairs and some of the lights were on (under water).

How can this be? Why does the breaker not trip?
 

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Marvin.... I'm interested also..... as water seems to be a strange animal.

Sometimes it seems it is a conductor with relatively little reistance.... swimming pools can get electrified, don't stand in water and hot wire anything.... etc

but other instances, as you point out, it acts as a poor conductor with significant resistance.

Now I know the composition of water (salts/minerals contained) can affect it's conductivity/resistance..... but

I would like a better understanding.

best
 

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So... Can anybody answere the OP's guestion in good old GC, DF, laymens, non-EE terms.

I think its valuable to undestand,,,, at least interesting...;)
 

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As long as the water was fairly free of minerals and had a very low iron content there will be no or very little current flow in the water. Any GFI should have tripped.

Tom
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Txelectrition is correct. Water is an insulator. It will not conduct electricity. But if you add contamination like salt or minerals it will become a conductor.

It took me several months of asking questions to get the correct answer.
 

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I did an experiment like this with my kids recently with a potato battery. The salt water was alot more conductive than the tap water...however the tap water did conduct.

I've seen many many electrical tap boxes full of water that did not short. Even if the water is conducting current (which usually it is) you need enough current to trip the breaker.

I seriously don't the water would get warm unless there was something already acting like an element and dissipating heat.
 

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See who can get the correct answer.

Several years ago, our town had a bad rainstorm and many houses were flodded. One guy told me his electrical panel was covered with water but he did not loose power to the house. Another guy told me at his daughters house, if you open the basement door, the water was to the top of the basement steps but you could look down stairs and some of the lights were on (under water).

How can this be? Why does the breaker not trip?
You've gotten your answers, but I'll add I have seen the same thing with my own eyes, twice.
200A main breaker panel, COMPLETELY submerged under water, full of breakers, power on and working.
 
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