Water in Conduit Entering House

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Old 10-27-09, 05:08 PM
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Water in Conduit Entering House

Just bought my first house (built in 1956), and it's raining today for the first time. The conduit from the basement to the detached garage has water in it and is getting water to drain into the junction box and then drip onto the floor of the basement.

Previous owner knew of problem because he/she installed a funnel and hose under the junction box to catch the water and divert it to drain. From the amount of corrosion/calcium buildup, it looks like itís been doing it for a while. Conduit runs about 18Ē underground between the house and the garage and is under the driveway. Basically replacing the conduit will not be an easy task.

I know it might not be best practice, but can I just fill the conduit with silicon caulk thus preventing water from entering the junction box in the basement? Water would then be trapped inside the conduit but outside the basement wall. From what Iíve read, water from condensation forms there anyway. When I replace the driveway (in 3~5 years), I can replace the conduit then.

If not, any solution that does not require me to rip up the driveway? Thanks in advance for any help/suggestions.
 
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Old 10-27-09, 06:11 PM
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Welcome to the forums! You should first find out how the water is getting into the conduit. Is it leaking from the end in the garage? Is it metal or pvc?
 
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Old 10-27-09, 07:35 PM
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I assume the conduit is coming in underground. The water is leaking into the conduit somewhere and draining downhill into the basement?

If this is the case, I'd probably dig down where the conduit enters the house, cut it carefully to not damage any wires, and reroute the conduit above ground and cross into the basement there. There will still be water in the conduit, but it will no longer have any way of getting into the basement.
 
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Old 10-28-09, 05:54 AM
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Yeah, I have a feeling they use a non waterproof coupling somewhere underground, and with that, you won't fix it until you decide to replace the conduit.
 
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Old 10-28-09, 06:25 AM
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One thing I'm not sure of is does the conduit from the garage directly go through your basement wall or on the outside of your house do it come up on the side of your house then go through your wall to your basement. Need to know this before I can help.

Jim

 
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Old 10-28-09, 06:55 AM
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the first thing you all need to understand:

electrical conduit is not reqquired to be waterproof and rarely is. That is one reason working in the winter time is such a pain. If working on underground runs, there is generally ice in the conduit making removing or installing wire a PITA.


so, what do you do? Seal the sucker up where it enters the house. This is required by code anyway and should already have been done.

If you cannot stop the leak, then I would hunt the cause and attempt to fix it. Often times, a sleeve is put through a wall and ends shortly outside the wall and is used only as protection as the cable passes through the wall. The open end outside will allow water to enter the building so, again, seal the thing and move on with life.

btw; that is one of my favorite jokes when doing underground. As I pull up wire that is obviously wet, I tell the homeowner it is water cooled so it can carry more current.

I know it might not be best practice, but can I just fill the conduit with silicon caulk thus preventing water from entering the junction box in the basement? Water would then be trapped inside the conduit but outside the basement wall.
that is exactly what you do. That is what is required by code.


the only different fix I would consider, if this is PVC:

removing the box, adding a jake

http://www.yourelectricalsource.com/...es/PEL5075.jpg

and running the conduit up high on the wall and placing the box above the outside ground line.. You still need to seal the conduit where it enters the box (code reqquirement) but it would prevent water from running into the building since water will not rise above ground level in the conduit.

If you consider this, you will want to see if you can actually move the wire in the conduit before you get all choppy with anything since if the wire cannot be removed and longer wire installed, you might as well not consider this additional work.

btw: if you really want to make the conduit water tight, if your driveway is less than 20 feet or so wide, it is not that difficult to get conduit under such a drive. If you want to do that, let me know and I will lay out a few different methods that have served me well over the years.
 
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Old 10-28-09, 07:34 AM
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Thanks for the great and fast replies. To answer some of the questionsÖ
1.) The garage conduit is dry and the entrance point where the garage conduit enters the ground is dry.
2.) Yes the conduit runs underground between the garage and house and it enters the house under the ground line. I am assuming a coupling underground is damaged causing the conduit to fill with water when it rains.
3.) Besides the access point in the garage, the entire conduit is under the ground line including where it enters the house.
4.) I cannot dig down where the conduit exits the house without tearing up the driveway.
5.) All conduit is metal, not PVC.

Here are two pictures.





You can see in the close-up picture that everything below the exit hole on the back of the junction box is wet and dirty. Everything above the hole is dry and clean. Notice the funnel sitting below junction box to catch the water. There is a hose (not shown) about 20í long draining the water to the drain in the floor. It looks like it's been there for a while.

As for my plan moving forward, Iím going to seal the conduit as it enters the junction box using some silicon caulk. It sounds like I should do this to stay with code anyway. If this solves the problem, Iím going to let it stay until I do some driveway reconstruction. If it doesnít Iíll be back to discuss other options (possibly relaying conduit under the 12í wide driveway or rerouting the wires completely).

Thanks again for your help. Iíll update everyone next time it rains.
 

Last edited by ibpooks; 10-28-09 at 08:53 AM. Reason: Cinverted image links from HTML to bbCode.
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Old 10-28-09, 07:44 AM
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you will never get rigid conduit to seal. It is not intended to seal out water. We use a different thread than a plumber would. His is intended to seal, ours isn't.


and, you cannot use a sealing compound on the joints either. There has to be electrical continuity through the pipes and a sealing compound would/could defeat that.

12' wide driveway? Piece of cake. Is there any dirt between the drive and the building? are you comfortable with working underground, like a tunnel rat?

If you want to do something before needing to replace the drive, while it is work, it can be done. let me know if you want to give it a go.
 
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