So we repainted our family room. It is in the the “basement,” but technically most of this room is at ground level. I was changing the outlets and light switches to white instead of the cream color that were there when we moved in (the house was built in 1961, we have owned it for one year).
I was down to my last outlet, one that we had never used before. When I checked it with my multimeter to see if I had the correct breaker off, the multimeter read 2.4 volts. Once I had the correct breaker off (now reads 0 volts), I opened up the outlet and saw some corrosion on the wires and box itself.
One of my problems is that I do not know when this water damage happened. It could have been from a long time ago and the previous owner fixed the leak but didn’t know the outlet was damaged. Or it could be from something right now (nothing appeared to be wet, but it might only get a few drops when it rains).
There are no water pipes in this area of the house and all the way above it to the roof. The outlet is on an exterior wall, but there are no issues or signs of a leak on the outside of the house (brick and concrete).
Is there any way to tell if this is a current leak or a past one? I don’t really want to rip the wall apart trying to figure this out. I don’t have the knowledge to repair it, and I would prefer to not have a bill for hundreds of dollars for a problem that doesn’t exist anymore.
If the leak is not a problem anymore, is there any reason I can’t continue to use the electrical box? It appears to just be surface rust, no reason to think it will collapse. I assume I can just clip off the ends of the copper wires and continue on?