Electrical woes

Yesterday was my revved-up "I’m gonna accomplish something!" day.  So I set out to pull the carpet from the third bedroom (which we use as an exercise room)… a job which required clearing up rest of house so there was room to put furniture from that room, moving said furniture, then starting the dusty, gross task of pulling out carpet that’s got at least 15 years worth of dirt, spills, mildew, etc ground down into it.

Midway through the task, there’s a popping noise from somewhere, and a few of the household lights get brighter while whole swaths of the rest of the house go dark.  And a bit of a burnt smell.  Oh, dear.

The circuit that supports the internet connection seems to be dead, so after doing the standard checks (crawl through attic looking for anything smoking or burning, check box for blown breakers or signs of damage, go through house cataloging what’s affected and looking for signs of damage), I used the phone to google for an electrician with weekend hours.  Found a pleasant company with good BBB ratings and arranged for someone to come out.

Before the electrician got here, a Reliant truck came cruising down the street.  Seems the problem was some fairly serious incident at the transformer, not at my house. One phase of our two-phase power was out.  The burning smell was probably something in my house reacting badly to the unbalanced power (the remaining phase was running slightly hot at 140 v instead of the 110-120 we expect). It took them over six hours to repair it. 

Meanwhile my electrician appeared, did due diligence to make sure the house wouldn’t burn down, and while he was out there we discussed several other things I’ve needed to do for the house.  He wrote up a contract for us for bringing the circuit box and ground wire up to code, installing a whole-house surge protector, and dropping a couple new circuits into key areas of the house… we will do that work next week.  So it wasn’t such a waste of his time or ours.

That’s our excitement for the week, I guess.  Today I will finish the carpet job…

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