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Richard, Engineer
Category: Consumer Electronics
Satisfied Customers: 43192
Experience:  Electronics Engineer
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Last week we had a burst pipe in the bathroom. Luckily

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Last week we had a burst pipe in the bathroom. Luckily we were in the house at the time so got the water turned off in a matter of minutes. The bathroom carpet is quite water resistant so held a lot of water back, but there was a slow flow through the floorboards onto the downstairs ceiling. From there the slow flow continued through a couple of minor cracks, and through the ceiling rose, into the room below where we had buckets and towels at the ready.
The damage was nil. Because of the continuous slow flow no water built up between the upstairs floor and downstairs ceiling, therefore there is no sign of anything having happened.
We turned off the power when the pipe burst, turning most back on after the water flow had stopped. Just the downstairs lights remained off. The ceiling rose and light (where the water came through) were removed and thoroughly dried, and the rose remained has off the ceiling for the past 5 days to allow air into the space above (light circuit still turned off).
I feel now that things have dried out sufficiently and want to put the lights back up and switch back on. This brings me to my question.
I am unaware of the wiring layout between the ceiling and floorboards above, so do not know if there are any junction boxes that may have become wet, and I cannot access the area without pretty much tearing the upstairs of the house apart. How safe will it be switching the lighting circuit back on? What is the worse that can happen? And what should I watch for?
Many thanks
Thank you for your question, my name is ***** ***** I look forward to assisting you.
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If there is a short that occurs John, when you switch it on it is going to switch back off immediately and the fuse will burn out stopping all electricity. Thats the worse that is going to happen.
So switch it on at the meter cast and if it remains on it means there is no short occurring and its fine. If it switches off and the fuse burns out, then you know its shorting which points to a junction box under the floor, though in my experience that will nearly always put these on a wall to avoid this exact situation.
If you have any problems, or would like any additional information or assistance, please do not hesitate to let me know.
Else if you can take a second to rate my service by clicking one of the stars at the top of the screen then submit, that would be greatly appreciated.
Thank you
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Hi again

Okay, I've switched on the power to the lighting circuit - it's a trip switch rather than a physical fuse but I assume that if the switch tripped then it would suggest something was wrong.

I've tried all the lights on the circuit and they all work fine; I've also tried them all on at once to put a bit of load on the circuit, again nothing tripped.

My main concern was something arcing out of sight and eventually causing a fire - am I just over dramatising?

Many thanks


Ok, a trip is even better, and if it tripped then yes, something would be wrong.
If it arcs John, then the trip will occur, and leaving it to dry for 5 days would really have allowed for it to dry out. Of course you can never rule this out completely, apart from getting the electrical layout for the house and seeing if there are any junction boxes there (unlikely) or manually checking it yourself, but from my experience, the chances are very remote.
Ensure of course you have a smoke alarm (regardless of this you should anyway) in the vicinity, but from everything described here, it is highly unlikely.
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