Electrical components such as service panels, meters, switches and outlets are easily damaged by flood water. If they are soaked for even short periods, they will probably have to be replaced. Another problem is the potential for fires caused by short circuits in flooded systems. Raising components helps avoid those problems. Also, having an undamaged, operating electrical system after a flood will help you clean up, make repairs and return to your property sooner.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency recommends raising all electrical system components at least a foot above the 100-year flood level. In an existing structure, such work will require the removal of some interior wall sheathing. If you are repairing a flood-damaged structure or building a new structure, elevating the electrical system will be easier.

Keep the following points in mind when you have your electrical system components raised:

  • Hire a licensed contractor who will ensure that the work is done correctly and according to all applicable codes.
  • Have the contractor check with the local power company to find out the maximum height to which the electric meter can be raised.
  • If you have an old-style fuse box or low-amperage service, consider upgrading to a circuit breaker system and higher-amperage service.

Raising the electrical service panel, meter and all of the outlets, switches and wiring in a 1,000-square-foot, single-floor structure will cost about $1,500 to $2,000. If the work is done during the repair of a damaged structure or construction of a new structure, the cost may be much lower.