This fact sheet has been designed to assist with the important decisions you must make while assessing flood damage to your home or business with regard to safety, term of operation and rebuilding/reconstruction.
It is essential that a licensed electrical contractor using licensed electrical workers to perform any electrical work due to an electrical installation affected by flood water.
If your home or business has been flood affected contact an Master Electrician as there is a need to check the whole installation before arranging the reinstatement of supply to the property which is dependent on the scope of damage and extent to which electricity is required.
Always heed Notifications left by your local electricity supply authority, never turn on switches unless you have been advised it is safe to do so.
If the installation is subject to major rectification because of flood damage or where existing electrical installations are found to be unsafe, then it may be practical to provide supply a single safe source of electrical supply to enable repairs – e.g. the installation of a power point to enable basic supply may be required.
The electrician is to refer to the Wiring Rules for inspection and testing installation wiring and fixed equipment. The test results should be in accordance with Section 8 of AS/NZS 3000. Some equipment may need to remain disconnected from supply while repair or replacement advice is sought from the equipment manufacturer.
Refer to the Wiring Rules regarding the requirements to install a safety switch. Circuits with an existing safety switch must continue to be protected by a safety switch. It is an offence to by-pass a safety switch because of a fault. Master Electricians Australia recommends all circuits be protected by safety switches.
For portable electrical equipment the electrician must assess the damage and refer to the Australian Standard AS/NZS 3760, after which the appropriate disposal of the equipment should be requested should it fail the required test. For electrical safety purposes, a defective appliance must be positively identified by signage or disconnection of the supply lead.
Where flood water has entered electrical equipment then the manufacturer’s advice should be sought on how this equipment can be made electrically safe before it is re-energised. The manufacturer or its authorised agent should be consulted and subsequently engaged to evaluate the equipment before it is connected to the supply. In the absence of this advice, the equipment should be replaced or disconnected prior to re-energisation of the electrical installation.
If a safety switch is disconnected for this purpose it must be replaced before circuits protected by it are energised.
Ensure you have an electrician check and test all conductive material such as metal foil insulation and metal building material (sarking) located in the ceiling, roof or walls, as it may have been damaged or dislodged and may now present an electrical risk. Always treat such material as live until it has been proven safe. Likewise, thermal ceiling insulation may have become dislodged and present an electrical and/or fire risk.
Even if the network supply is turned off, solar PV systems will continue producing voltages and the PV cells and associated wiring will be live. Use the shut down instructions to safety turn off the isolation switches located next to the Solar Inverter. These instructions are usually located on your switchboard.
Where a solar PV system has been flood inundated, have an electrician check the system and safely isolate water-damaged components. Ensure the system is electrically safe before it is re-commissioned or before work commences in the area of the PV cells and associated electrical wiring.
Where an existing installation has a generator installed or the ability (appliance connection/changeover switch) for a standalone plug-in connection, ensure the genset does not included RCD protection on the outlet sockets as this may interfere with the reliable operation of the RCD protection installed on the main switchboard.
WARNING: Gensets used to energise an installation by the use of an extension lead with 2 male plugs which plug into socket outlets is EXTREMELY DANGEROUS. This is a Dangerous Electrical Event and MUST be reported to the Electrical Safety Office.