Fun With Electricity, Part Three

At least OTHER people do stupid things with electricity, too.

As mentioned in the previous FwE, our house heater was broken for a while. We had our neighborhood appliance repairman come by to fix it, and I was the person who got to stay home to meet him.

It was fascinating to see someone who really knows what they’re doing with home wiring (even the low-voltage stuff). He quickly tested our thermostat, found it wasn’t the problem, and headed for the basement. A quick twist of some wire, and the heater came right on, proving the heater itself worked fine.

So the problem was between the thermostat and the heater, i.e., in the wiring. At first this seemed like it would be a hard thing to track down, but after checking the integrity of the wire in the basement, we headed back into the house, where the problem became obvious.

We had hardwood floors put in about half the house over the summer, and as part of that, the installers needed to even up our baseboard. They use a special saw that cuts along the wall exactly the thickness of the wood they’re going to install. Can you see where this is going?

Yes, exactly, as they trimmed the baseboard under the thermostat, they also “trimmed” the thermostat wiring, which was mounted on the wall. In this case, “trimmed” = “cut”, and “cut” = “our house is friggin’ cold!”

Fortunately fixing it was about 15 minutes of work for Mr. Pearson, of Pearson’s Appliance Service, who we highly recommend if you have appliance problems or restoration jobs, and you don’t want to get ripped off.

Fun With Electricity, Part Two

Wherein I continue to do stupid things with live wires.

So, yes, there’s a part two, and yes, it involves more stupid behavior with electricity.

Three days ago I came home to find Rochelle and Dante drinking, and drunk, and cold, because our house heater was broken. Being sober, and a problem-solver, I went to collect our little space heater from the front room.

When I got there I tried to unplug it from the extension cord it was attached to, and discovered that Cecil had peed on it, and the two had apparently fused together. The plug would come a little ways out, but then wedged.

It seemed less stupid than it actually was to try to pry the two apart with a screwdriver — without unplugging the extension cord. I guess I got lucky, but the short circuit definitely knocked out power to that room, and melted two notches into the screwdriver.

Rochelle made me buy a book about ’lectricity. Think I’ll read it.

Fun With Electricity, Part One

I apparently avoid electrocuting myself, doing a stupid thing.

Two weekends ago, Rochelle and I were installing the first of four new (to us) period lamps that we bought off eBay, in the kitchen.

I climbed up the ladder and started unhooking the old light, without first turning off the circuit breaker, because there was a fair amount I could do without touching any wires. Then I just got involved in untangling things and forgot the lines were still hot.

When the inevitable spark shower occurred, Rochelle could only laugh. I told her I thought it was time she went down and turned off the breaker.

Her comeuppance came later, when she decided to do the hall lamp herself while I was taking my afternoon nap. It’s a lot slower to do things safely when you do them yourself, because our breaker box is outside and all the way around the house. Apparently for the last step, putting the glass globe onto the fixture, Rochelle didn’t feel the need to do the round trip. From all the way down the hall I saw her react to touching something. I asked if that was a shock she’d just gotten, and yes, it was. This time we both had to laugh.

Glad we have life insurance.