110V and water

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I was repairing some landscaping lighting, and when I took the cover off of the outdoor junction box, water came out. Don't know how much was in there, maybe 1/4 to 1/2 cup. I'm guessing it wasn't enough to reach the wiring connections, held together by wire nuts, or maybe it did.
Because if it had, the breaker would have tripped, right?
--
charles

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Not unless it is a GFCI breaker. Outdoor splice boxes and underground splices are always wet, from condensation if not direct water entry. If the type of box you have has threaded knockouts, try putting silicone around the threads.
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When underground wiring insulation fails the failure in manifested by a chemical reaction between the conductor and the surrounding earth. With Al wire, this happens quickly. With Cu it's relatively slow. Basically speaking the cable is eaten away and fails "open." In proportion to the current the wire normally delivers to the load, the earth leakage is minor so it will not trip a breaker (except for ground fault, of course.).

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Charles Bishop wrote:

not necessarily, water is not conductive.
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Steve Barker wrote:

pure water isn't conductive, but when was the last time you saw any pure water?
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Steve Barker wrote:

No? Well wet your fingers and stick them in a socket.
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wrote:

Van.
Correct. If your wet fingers present a resistance of say 20,000 ohms a 'small' current WILL flow.
For example; 115 volts/20,000 ohms = 5.75 milliamps. Enough to stop your heart in certain circumstance but not near enough to trip a 15 amp (that's 15,000 milliamps) circuit breaker!
At low voltage if I hold the two leads of a multimeter in my two hands I get something of the order of 100,000 ohms. If my hands were wet or I dig the points of the meter leads into the skin it is possible to get it down to less than 50,000 ohms.
That's how some electricians, dangerously, will test for 115 volts by brushing their fingers quickly across a live lead!
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Steve Barker wrote:

Water itself isn't very conductive but it IS conductive; it's the impurities (dirt, dissolved stuff, etc.) that makes water conductive so it very well could have been. Even rainwater isn't normally pure enough to not trip a GFCI, for example.
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Well we get acid rain and there can also be condensation within boxes and conduits etc. Also variuos impurities/dirt etc. can be present that get dissolved into moisture and conduct slightly. It is true that 'distilled' very pure water only conducts slightly.
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On Sat, 14 Mar 2009 22:28:53 -0500, Steve Barker

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On Sat, 14 Mar 2009 22:28:53 -0500, Steve Barker

the current through water between 110 volt AC electrodes. The water conducts well enough to heat the water to boiling in the tube surrounding the 2 electrodes - and yes, they DO work with distilled and/or RO purified water.
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On Sat, 14 Mar 2009 22:28:53 -0500, Steve Barker

Di-inized water 5.5 × 10-6[1] changes to 1.2 × 10-4 in water with no gas present[1]
Drinking water 0.0005 to 0.05 This value range is typical of high quality drinking water and not an indicator of water quality
Water conductivity
Pure water is not a good conductor of electricity. Ordinary distilled water in equilibrium with carbon dioxide of the air has a conductivity of about 10 x 10-6 W-1*m-1 (20 dS/m). Because the electrical current is transported by the ions in solution, the conductivity increases as the concentration of ions increases. Thus conductivity increases as water dissolved ionic species.
Typical conductivity of waters: Ultra pure water 5.5 · 10-6 S/m Drinking water 0.005 – 0.05 S/m Sea water 5 S/m
So not HIGHLY conductive may be true, but nonconductive would be false.
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snipped-for-privacy@snyder.on.ca wrote:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electrical_conductivity
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On Mar 14, 7:46 pm, snipped-for-privacy@earthlink.net (Charles Bishop) wrote:

How did the water get in?

Only if it had a GFCI and the water caused current flow in the ground wire.
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The current flow does not have to be in the ground wire. In fact, a GFCI doesn't need a ground wire at all to work. The GFCI trips when it senses an imbalance between the currents in the hot and neutral, meaning some current is going somewhere else. In this case, it would trip if current was flowing from a wet connection to earth.
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On Mar 15, 10:43am, snipped-for-privacy@optonline.net wrote:

Glad someone pointed that out. A GFCI (so called "Ground fault ...... ) operates when there is an imbalance between the current flowing in the neutral and live wires; of say a 115 volt circuit.
If there IS an imbalance it does not have to be leakage to ground! Although that is a main purpose to protect users of potentially faulty apparatus.
Witnessed a situation where a neutral wire was inadvertently also connected to another circuit in the adjacent living unit.
Every time they plugged into that circuit, next door, the currents were imbalanced and 'this' GFCI tripped!
See another post about whether water conducts! Almost anything will conduct (slightly).
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Charles Bishop wrote:

If it is not GFCI, and pure water is not a good conductor. You should have drain holes on the box and liberal use of silicon sealant to minimize water/moisture build up.
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wrote:

Should he seal the drain holes, or use drain-only holes?
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wrote:

The code says raceways and boxes "shall be arranged to drain". They know "wet locations" will eventually accumulate water. You want drain holes in boxes. I have found it is also good to point wirenuts up and keep them in the top of the box.
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wrote:

The common "weatherproof" boxes don't have drain holes in them[1]. Should drain holes be drilled before they are installed?
charles
[1] Mostly, I think because this would mean there would be only one way the box could be installed and have the drain holes work.
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