Water is a good conductor....right?

Just curious what others would have put in their report. This house was a hoarders paradise, so I apologize for the image. House had its masthead knocked off by a limb. Electrician installed an exterior disconnect and routed the conductors through the basement instead of the attic as originally. Interior panel was never reworked as a sub panel, and the refrigerant lines were heavily condensed as were all of the ductwork in the basement. Just painting a picture… To this image specifically I listed it as a safety hazard. “The main service wire has the refrigerant line for the AC in contact. This is an unsafe installation and should be corrected by a licensed electrician”

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Looks like UF , so it can be in damp locations. I guess you could argue that its subject to damage rubbing against the line . I’d probably just recommend replacing the insulation on the suction line.

Thanks Dennis…I couldn’t confirm because I could not get closer. Home was “habitied” with mountains of stuff all over the floor.

Water is a terrible conductor of electricity . Pure water is actually a good insulator. However, water is a great ionic solvent: liquid in which ionic compounds can dissolve easily. It’s those dissolved ions that can conduct well - and when water contains many dissolved ions, those ions make a good conductor .

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Larry, that was deeep :smile:

Just some terminology, since there is now a service disconnect on the outside that cable would be a feeder not the “main service wire” as the service entrance conductors end at the exterior disconnect. It’s is likely SE cable specifically SER which contains 4 conductors. IMO the contact with the AC line is a toss up as to whether or not it would become hazardous.

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We had a boy jump in the marina and get electrocuted up here, so much was written about water and electricity. Sad really…

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Thanks all…here’s a few of the disconnect and the panel. I sincerely appreciate the education.![IMG_2584|375x500](upload://oc

zIouwLELjjQKn3DXHE7OIeYDd.jpeg)

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As you’ve stated the interior “sub-panel” now needs to have the neutrals and EGC’s separated and any grounding electrode conductors that land there need to be moved to the exterior service disconnect.

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I got this one right! Lots of double tapping and other tom foolery

The National Electric Code (NEC) in the US specifically forbids anything except electrical wiring and appurtenances in the space directly above as well as below an electrical panel. That space extends from the floor to the structural joists right through any non-structural ceiling. One of the main reason for that is that plumbing, coolant lines, and duct work often sweat and plumbing sometimes leaks.


Tom Horne

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As someone already pointed out water by itself is a poor conductor. In fresh water the body of a swimmer in the water is a better conductor than the water itself. The amount of current flowing through the persons body is often not enough to kill but rather enough to parallelize the swimmer so that they drown. Persons who go to their rescue sometimes become the second or third victim. Sometimes the current leaking into the water is coming from the utility’s Multi Grounded Neutral rather than the wiring of the home and reaching the water via the Equipment Grounding Conductor of the premises wiring system. In salt water the salinity makes the water more conductive than a person in the water and electric shock deaths are only likely when there is an energized conductive surface that someone in the water ends up touching.


Tom Horne

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Just for reference, the title wasn’t for clarification nor was it an actual question. Sense of humor and the internet read “gray” on the NACHI forum…my bad. :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

Tom, You quoted me but I have no idea what your response has to do with my post. Maybe you can clarify.

I was offering a reason why it might become hazardous and pointing out that the presence of the coolant line inside the footprint of the electrical panel is forbidden by the NEC for just that reason. I didn’t mean to come across as quarrelsome but if I managed to do so anyway I apologize.


Tom Horne

Help me out here folks because I really do not know. Is that piece of exposed plywood an acceptable way to mount electrical equipment outdoors? It’s no painted. Is it perhaps marine grade and therefore OK?


Tom Horne

No problem, I was just confused because from what I can see in the photo the AC line is not over the or near the panel. And you are correct about the required dedicated equipment space above the panel footprint. :sunglasses:

I remember Roy Cooke telling me, water is called the "universal solvent**. Damn, what a man!
Why? " Because it dissolves more substances than any other liquid.
Thanks for the reminder, Larry.

I call out bare plywood, especially if exposed (sometimes it is under an overhang). Weathered plywood buckles and de-laminates and eventually the panel becomes loose. Prime and paint helps it last longer.

In fifty five years in the craft I never used a mounting board to support equipment to a masonry wall outdoors. If there was some reason that masonry anchors would not work I resorted to fastening construction strut to mount the equipment on. On a house I would spring for a stick of stainless steel or aluminum strut because rusted steel is so dammed unsightly.


Tom Horne