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What to do if your ETC equipment has taken on water

In the wake of a natural disaster that has caused water damage to your facility, it may be tough to decide where to begin as part of the cleanup process. ETC understands this can be a difficult, stressful, and emotional time, so we have several guidelines you can follow to help get you back into a safe and functional environment. 

Paramount above all else, customer safety is ETC’s top concern. Before doing anything else, it is recommended that the power to the equipment in question be turned off. Energized equipment that has had water ingress poses a serious electrical risk to a user or anyone servicing the equipment.

The next step is to contact your insurance company to inform them of the damage, and they will assist you in getting equipment inspected and repaired or replaced. If you’re unsure of the extent of damage, you can contact your ETC dealer for help assessing the situation. If you do not have a dealer with which you work with regularly, you can find one in your area at etcconnect.com/Find-A-Dealer.aspx.

Our experience has shown that equipment that has incurred water intrusion may not be recoverable in a way that guarantees future reliability of the system. Water carries large amounts of contaminants, and can cause product failures when combined with the harsh chemicals of the cleaning products typically used for this type of cleanup. Corrosion of the small components can occur with only a small amount of dirty water, and while a device may not display immediate failures, it often leads to failure within weeks or months.

In general, ETC recommends that all control electronics, fans, dimmer modules, and network equipment be replaced if it has been wet. Dimmer/relay racks may be rebuilt if they are in reasonable shape, however, in some cases, the quote to repair the devices may exceed the cost of replacement. Conduits and power feeds that have been under water should be assessed as well, as part of a consultation from an electrical contractor or inspector.

ETC’s Technical Services department is always available to assist, should any questions come up at any point during the process. To find the contact information for the closest ETC office to you, visit etcconnect.com/Support/Contact-Us.aspx.  

All photos courtesy of the Alley Theatre, Houston, Texas.

Top photo: Cleanup at the Alley Theatre

Second photo: The Neuhaus Theatre before Hurricane Harvey

Third photo: The Neuhaus Theatre after Hurricane Harvey