Reconditioning Electrical Tools, Cables and Wiring: Part 5
Is it possible to recondition cables, wires and electrical tools after a flood? The answer is yes and no. All open wiring, including nonmetallic, sheathed cable, can generally be retained after it has been thoroughly dried along with junction boxes and connections have been remade. Unfortunately, armored cable will most likely need to be replaced, as will lead cable if the ends have been under water, with saltwater being especially damaging.
Rubber-covered cable in rigid conduit or in electrical metallic tubing may sometimes be reused, but it must be pulled out of the conduit or tubing in order to clean the housing. This procedure must be done carefully because the cable insulation can become damaged easily.
All silt and moisture must be cleaned thoroughly from the conduit or tubing before it can be used again. Potheads and all insulators should be cleaned and carefully inspected for cracks or other damage.
Instruments to use when testing
Insulation testers are the perfect instrument for testing wire and cable for waterlogged conditions, opens and shorts. It is also important to check storage and downloading capabilities. Doing these checks are especially important after a flood because it makes interfacing with insurance agencies, government regulatory agencies as well as third party involvements much easier. It shows that you have not only completed all necessary testing, but it was also done correctly.
Reconditioning of electrical tools
Electrical tools can be reconditioned in the same matter in which cables and wiring are. However, it is important that final testing is completed using a portable appliance tester. This way you know that you can safely put tools back in the hands of your workers and have met OSHA requirements. These types of testers are available and can perform a full batter of performance and safety tests.
One final note
A final thought when drying out and reconditioning equipment, don’t overlook voltage detectors for employee safety. Under the chaotic conditions of a post-flood situation, power lines may or may not be live. The most reliable way to determine if conditions are safe to proceed with maintenance and restoration is to test first with an appropriately rated voltage indicator.