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Humidity and Electrical Switches and Wire Splices


By Dave Rongey - Summary:

Whenever summer arrives, I encounter problems with both the kitchen light and my dishwasher…


Humidity Can Affect Electrical  Devices and Wiring Splices

Question: Whenever summer arrives, I encounter problems with both the kitchen light and my dishwasher. Both seem to react to increased humidity in the home and behave as if no power is reaching them. If I turn on the wall switch for the ceiling fixture, there is no response. Sometimes, I have left the switch in the on position, and at a later time, the light may come on,  sometimes in as little as 5 minutes,  sometimes 30 minutes later.

Unfortunately, the dishwasher is a little more stubborn. I have been attempting to run the dishwasher for the past 4 days and it might as well be unplugged. (It has been raining outside for the past 4 days as well !) As a last ditch effort, I turned the A/C to dehumidifier and ran it for a couple hours,  guess what. ? My dishwasher now responds to commands and is operating as normal.

How do I solve this dilemma ?

P.S. The dishwasher and the light are on the same circuit.

This electrical question came from: Maryann, a Homeowner from Ottawa , Canada
See more about Home Wiring for Canada

Dave’s Reply:
Thanks for your electrical question Maryann
Humidity and Electrical Wiring Splices and Switches
Maryann, humidity can have an affect on electrical wiring splices and cause corrosion of aluminum and copper electrical wire. I have seen this firsthand inside of electrical junction boxes found in kitchens that have high levels of humidity. This corrosion can definitely lead to a bad connection or wire splice and create a bad connection between the contacts of  switches. When this condition is found it would be best turn off the circuit power, clean off the corrosion, and recreate the splice using corrosion inhibiting wire connectors and to install a gasket between the cover plate and the wall.

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