This has left many exposed to electrical dangers
January 27, 2016: A powerful weekend blizzard that brought unprecedented flooding to southern New Jersey has soaked homes in brackish saltwater, leaving many families exposed to electrical dangers, including fire. Residential energy company AP Gas & Electric LLC urges homeowners to exercise care when dealing with saltwater floods, as it carries risks that freshwater does not.
“Saltwater is highly corrosive and conductive, so it can cause electronics to short and discharge electricity,” said Stephen Varney, Vice President of Residential Marketing for APG&E. “Sometimes, this can result in a sudden fire or electrical shock. Many may remember this is what led to the fire that destroyed part of the Seaside Heights boardwalk after Super Storm Sandy.”
New Jersey residents are reporting 8 to 10 inches of water in their homes, which is more than enough to inundate electrical outlets and other electronic devices. Saltwater presents special challenges because the salt acts as a conduit for the electricity.
For these homeowners, and any homeowners facing a saltwater flood, APG&E recommends the following:
- Never enter a flooded home before an electrician has confirmed it is safe.
- Shut off power to the home as soon as possible, unplug electrical devices and remove batteries as soon as it is safe to do so.
- Allow electrical devices to dry completely before turning them back on.
- Have an electrician inspect any electronics that have been soaked in saltwater. In most cases, boxes and panels need to be replaced.
“Always have a professional check everything before taking any risks,” said Varney. “Electricity and water, especially saltwater, never mix.”