what are our risks?

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Old 06-18-11, 04:32 PM
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what are our risks?

We live in a home up on stilts. The river we are on can flood a few feet below us on occasions.

We have a 200amp service. It's mounted about 2' off the ground, upward, but below the house.

If water get up there:

a. is there anything that "kills' the power?

b. could we go in the water going to the car, parked some distance away on higher ground, without worrying about getting electrocuted?

c. Is there any way we could know whether it's safe to go in the water?
 
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Old 06-18-11, 04:45 PM
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Even Florida has building codes. If the river can flood a "few" feet, and your service panel is 2' off the ground, someone didn't do his/her homework. This must be corrected to the proper height based on flood stage and local building requirements.

a. no
b. no
c. no
 
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Old 06-18-11, 05:12 PM
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Good answers. Thanks. I wasn't sure about whether we could safely get out or not. Thing to do is get out way up front.
 
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Old 06-18-11, 05:28 PM
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For now, yes, get out way before the predicted flood crests. For the future, relocate the service and all wiring above the 100 year flood level. If there are a lot of homes built like yours, the local power company may shut down the primary feeding your area when the water rises.
 
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Old 06-18-11, 07:44 PM
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Originally Posted by rbig View Post
Thing to do is get out way up front.
Thing to do is get it fixed properly before it happens. You may not have an option of leaving in the case of rising water in a hurricane. It's too fast. As Joe said, the POCO may disable power if it gets nasty, but I wouldn't want to count on it.
 
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Old 06-18-11, 08:34 PM
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Flooded service equipment needs to be replaced anyway, so why not mount it high enough to not flood out in the first place to save money if not anything else?
 
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Old 06-20-11, 12:22 PM
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The code requires electrical equipment be mounted at least 2' vertically above the highest water mark. It's up to the local code enforcement to define what the highest water mark is, but the 100-year flood line is a good one to use in an area prone to flooding.

It is really surprising to me that the service would be 2' off the ground. Our power company requires it to be right around 5'-0" to the meter, with a little variation allowed for landscaping, etc.

The best case would be to have an electrician mount your service up higher on the building, but another option would be at least to install a main disconnect switch up higher so you could shut the power off to the panel in the event of flooding. Hopefully the power company primary fuses would blow or they would manually shut down the supply as the waters rise, but no guarantees when they would get to your neighborhood as they are very busy during natural disasters.
 
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Old 06-20-11, 07:37 PM
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It's up to the local code enforcement to define what the highest water mark is, but the 100-year flood line is a good one to use in an area prone to flooding.
It seems the 100 year flood line goes up every 10 to 20 years in my area! I'd go plenty above what ever 100 year level you are given, maybe even to the 500 year flood line.
 
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