Simple Wiring Projects for Home Repairs: Electrical Tips and Ideas

Five Safety Steps You Need to Take If Your Leaky Roof Is Affecting Your Light Fixtures

A leaking roof can cause a lot of damage and depending on the route of the leak, it can even affect your electrics. If you find water pooling in a light fixture or dripping through it, you need to move forward carefully. Here's what you need to do:

1. Remember water is a conductor

Keep in mind that water is a conductor. If you see water pooling in a light fixture, do not reach for the switch to turn that fixture off. The water could help the electricity travel through the wires, through the switch and into you.

2. Always turn off wet electrics at the fuse box

Instead of turning off flooded electrics by hand, go to your fuse box. If the roof leak has let water into your fuse box, do not touch it. Instead, call a professional electrician, such as those from A.J. Palmer Electrical, immediately and leave your home until he or she can turn off all the power and help you address the damage.

If the fuse box doesn't have water in it, simply turn off the breaker for that fixture.

3. Dry out cables

If the water that has affected your fixture is clean water that has dripped in from your roof, it likely won't have caused any lasting damage to the electrical work in that area. However, if you had corrosive chemicals on your roof that the water may have swept inside the house and over your electrical wiring, that may have caused damage.

The latter case is very rare, but if that applies to you, have your electrician survey the wires for corrosion or damage. If your fixtures have just been affected by normal rain water, simply wait for them to dry out.

4. Consult an electrician about replacing broken accessories

To be on the safe side, have an electrician look over the fixture to determine if anything needs to be replaced. Even if the wires are fine, you may need to replace sockets, switches or other elements.

5. Make a plan for hidden damage

Just because you only see water in one light fixture doesn't mean that you don't have water damage anywhere else. When you have  a leaky roof, the water enters the hole on the roof. Then, it meanders around framing wood, ceiling joists, plaster and other elements until it finds a weak spot that it can get through.

Your wet fixture may be far from the leak's original source, and while travelling there, the water may have damaged other electrical wires in the attic or ceiling. If you want to be as safe as possible, have an electrician do a thorough examination of your electrical work as soon as possible after you repair the leaking roof.