Rain, Splash, Fail: Exploring the Effects of Water on Motors

Electric motors are an integral part of many machines and devices we use every day. However, when these motors come into contact with water, it can lead to disastrous consequences.

Understanding the effects of water on electric motors is crucial for ensuring safety and preventing costly damage.

When an electric motor gets wet, it can experience insulation breakdown, corrosion, bearing damage, and potential electrical short circuits, leading to motor failure and performance issues.

In this article, we will explore the dangers posed by water, the impact it has on electric motors, and the necessary steps to take when a motor gets wet.

How Electric Motors Work

Electric motors operate on the principles of electromagnetism, converting electrical energy into mechanical energy.

They consist of various components such as a stator, rotor, and windings, which work together to generate rotational motion.

Understanding the basics of how electric motors function helps us comprehend the implications of water damage.

Water and Electricity: A Dangerous Combination

Water is a highly conductive substance, which makes it particularly hazardous when it comes into contact with electricity.

When water enters an electric motor, it can create paths for electrical current to flow where it shouldn’t, leading to short circuits and potential electrical fires.

Additionally, there is a risk of electric shock to individuals who come into contact with a wet motor.

Understanding the Impact of Water on Electric Motors

The presence of water in an electric motor can have several detrimental effects on its components. One of the primary concerns is compromised insulation, which is vital for preventing electrical currents from traveling to unintended areas.

Water can cause an insulation breakdown, resulting in malfunction or failure of the motor. Moreover, water promotes corrosion and rusting of metal components, leading to decreased performance and lifespan.

Bearings and the lubrication system can also suffer damage, affecting the motor’s smooth operation.

Steps to Take When an Electric Motor Gets Wet

In the event of a wet electric motor, certain steps should be taken promptly to mitigate damage and ensure safety:

1. Safety precautions before handling a wet motor: Before attempting to handle a wet motor, it is crucial to prioritize personal safety. Ensure that power is isolated and disconnected to prevent electric shock.

2. Isolation and power shutdown: Cut off the power supply to the motor as soon as possible. This helps minimize the risk of electrical hazards and prevents further damage.

3. Drying techniques for electric motors: There are several methods to dry out a wet electric motor, depending on the severity of the exposure and the motor’s design. Air drying can be effective for mild cases, while dehumidification and baking the motor at a controlled temperature may be necessary for more severe situations.

4. Inspection and testing after drying: After the drying process, a thorough inspection of the motor is essential. This includes checking for any signs of damage, testing electrical components, and verifying the motor’s functionality.

5. Repair or replacement considerations: Based on the inspection results, decisions regarding repair or replacement of damaged components or the entire motor can be made. It is advisable to consult a professional or follow manufacturer guidelines in such cases.

Read also my article: The Shocking Consequences: Reversing Motor Wires.

Preventive Measures for Water Damage

Taking preventive measures can significantly reduce the risk of water damage to electric motors:

1. Proper motor installation and protection: Ensuring that motors are installed in suitable locations and adequately protected from water sources is essential. This may involve using weatherproof enclosures or placing motors in elevated positions to prevent water ingress.

2. Implementing watertight enclosures and seals: Employing watertight enclosures and seals around motor housings, connectors, and cable entry points helps create a barrier against water intrusion.

3. Regular maintenance and inspections: Regularly scheduled maintenance, including inspections, cleaning, and lubrication, can help identify potential issues before they escalate. Prompt repairs or replacements can be undertaken to avoid water damage.

4. Waterproofing measures in specific industries: Certain industries, such as marine applications, outdoor installations, and industrial settings, may require additional waterproofing measures. These can include specialized coatings, sealants, or the use of waterproof motor designs.


Water poses a significant threat to electric motors, with potential consequences ranging from electrical malfunctions to safety hazards.

Understanding the impact of water on motors, along with taking prompt action when a motor gets wet, is crucial for preventing damage and ensuring the longevity of these vital devices.

By following proper safety protocols, implementing preventive measures, and seeking professional assistance when needed, the risk of drenched disasters can be minimized, and electric motors can continue to operate efficiently and safely.