What specific safety components should be replaced after flood exposure?

October 11, 2023

by Nils Deacon, Manager, Inspections and Rating Services

Components of special interest for insurance are communication devices, protection, and signaling systems, including burglar, fire alarms, and sprinkler systems.

Safety features for electrical equipment such as low and medium voltage circuit breakers can be damaged by flooding. The flood waters remove lubricants and introduce particles such as silt which impair proper functioning. Thus, they are not able to provide protection for short circuits or overloading.

Corrosion due to flooding can cause short circuits, or alter the characteristics of the circuits. These systems should be replaced or cleaned, serviced, and tested by qualified entities. It is essential that such systems be fully operational, from both underwriting and life safety perspectives.

Not all states and municipalities specify that wiring be replaced. Electricians can only certify and recommend that wiring and other electrical components be replaced. Situations could happen where the wiring is not properly replaced. Fires and loss of life could result. Therefore, if a property is to be insured, and it is suspected to have been subjected to flood damage, a full review of renovations and repairs should be made.

DISCLAIMER: This information reflects the interpretation of MSO, Inc. with regard to NFPA Standards and Codes. It does not represent NFPA’s official position on the items discussed.

Electrical service exposed to flooding.