Flooded electric boxes pose safety risk

Water flows from a transformer box at Brian Henderson’s home. Photo SPIN.

Brian Henderson was shocked to find water flowing out of the electric transformer box on the side of his home earlier this spring.

He said in May he found water had come up the conduit, a pipe leading from the Hydro box near the street to the box on his home.

Having worked in the construction industry for many years, Henderson understood the danger associated with the flooded box and has been wary of the water coming from it. He said if it were to reach just a few inches higher it could do major property damage and energize the area.

With the help of BC Hydro, Henderson dug down around two feet to search for a drainage tee, a piece installed to drain water from the conduit, but found it was missing. It is unclear if a drainage tee on another area of the conduit is plugged or if none were installed. What is clear to Henderson is the issues with the water in the box.

“I think this is something homeowners should be aware of,” he said. In addition, the water has damaged the foundation and siding of the building.

The next step for Henderson is to disconnect power to the home to add or unplug drainage tees. Disconnecting the power and digging up the conduit may be expensive, but he expected the water to keep flowing until then.

Kevin McGuire, owner of Sun Peaks Plumbing & Heating, said he has seen the same issue at multiple homes in the area, and homeowners may not be aware.

“Every single family home has the potential to have the exact same issue,” he said. “The dangers are obvious, water and electricity just do not mix well.”

McGuire said he is working with the B.C. Safety Authority and BC Hydro to create a solution. He added that homeowners can contact him for assistance and some insurance may not cover the damage.