Water in the breaker box

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  #1  
Old 08-24-12, 12:40 PM
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Water in the breaker box

During a recent heavy thunderstorm, I noticed water dripping out of my main breaker box in the basement. After a little investigation, it appears that the water comes in at the exterior meter box on the side of the house. It doesn't appear to be installed very well -- there are some obvious gaps just above it. The main cable runs from the exterior box to the main panel in the basement, in the ground, under the garage floor, for probably good 30-40 feet. So, I have two problems: how to properly seal the exterior box and how to get rid of the water that appears to be just sitting in the conduit. I know it's there, because even though we've had no rain in a couple of weeks, the conduit opening inside the breaker box is always wet.

Thanks in advance for any ideas!

David
 
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Old 08-24-12, 06:56 PM
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Can you post a picture so we can see what you are dealing with?
 
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Old 08-24-12, 07:51 PM
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Is the water entering the conduit from inside the meter socket? If so, fix or replace the socket and you fixed the weater problem in the panel. If you're getting ground water in the conduit, you have more problems than just a bad meter socket. Yes, pictures would help a lot.
 
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Old 08-25-12, 07:41 AM
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Thanks, guys. I placed a few pictures on photobucket here: water in the breaker pictures by dm59 - Photobucket
 
  #5  
Old 08-25-12, 07:49 AM
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I believe I'd want to inspect inside the meter socket, although you'll probably have to call an electrician to do it. I'd also open the cover on the LB fitting and inspect for signs of water coming down from the socket. I couldn't tell, is the LB totally above ground or is the cover partially underground?
 
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Old 08-25-12, 08:30 AM
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Ok, I've just added a closeup of the LB fitting to the album. It actually looks (something I never noticed before) like there is a crack on top of it.

 

Last edited by ray2047; 08-25-12 at 09:57 AM. Reason: Add image.
  #7  
Old 08-25-12, 10:00 AM
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Pros should a LB half burred like his? Even without the crack it seems eventual seal failure at the cover could allow water to run in.
 
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Old 08-25-12, 11:34 AM
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Pros should a LB half burred like his? Even without the crack it seems eventual seal failure at the cover could allow water to run in.
No, it should not have passed for the reason you give.
 
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Old 08-25-12, 01:13 PM
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LB's are "access" panels, so burying them would negate that feature. Like you said, Ray, even without the crack, it is a failure waiting to happen.
Davidm, I think you have solved your own problem. Solving it is only half the thing, though. The meter will need pulling and all the wiring pulled and new conduit run down to that point. I believe it is time for an electrician to show up in his cape and mask. Sorry to bear the news. Good investigative work.
 
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Old 08-25-12, 06:32 PM
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Thanks everyone! Larry, are you saying that the new conduit will need to be run from the meter to the LB?
 
  #11  
Old 08-25-12, 06:42 PM
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No, we are saying you can't use an LB there. Best is to enter the house above ground level then down to the basement. The current hole into the basement would need to be sealed.
 
  #12  
Old 08-26-12, 05:59 AM
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I see. Thanks. That's going to be one tough job -- there's a lot of distance between the meter and the breaker box and no straight path, if at all. In the meantime, we're expecting rain tomorrow -- what's the best way to temporarily patch or cover the crack?
 
  #13  
Old 08-26-12, 06:37 AM
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davidm,
I think you are dealing with an installation that probably was above ground when originally installed. The landscaper probably brought in too much fill around that side of the house. If you are able to re-landscape that area so that the LB is above ground, you could more than likely, have an electrician disconnect, install a new LB and riser pipe to the meter box for much less denerio. Temporarily, dig down under the LB and trench away from the area to keep water away, smear on some silicone caulk around the LB joint perimeter and into the crack to keep water out. If you are in a cold area, the ground may have frozen and expanded, cracking the LB,....gotta get that ground level down and water running away from that area.
 
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