Posts Tagged ‘Repairs’

The Joys of Home Ownership

July 28, 2009


I usually take part in the My World meme on Tuesday, but I’m skipping this week.

When I woke up yesterday (Monday) morning, I had my day all planned out.  The front lawn needed mowing, there were weeds in a periwinkle bed that needed to be pulled, and I had more work to do on a retaining wall I’m building along the road.  With luck I could get much of that work done before it got uncomfortably hot outside (summer has returned to the Plateau).

Then I went into the kitchen and turned on the lights . . . only half of them came on.  My day went down hill from there.

Don’t get me wrong — I really like our house and think it is just about perfect.  But the lighting in the kitchen is one thing that I would change if I could.  We have two eight-foot long fluorescent light fixtures in the kitchen, above a drop-down ceiling composed of  plastic ‘screens’.  To get to the fixtures the first thing that needs to be done is remove some of the screens.

I hoped against hope that the problem was just a bad bulb, but switching bulbs between the fixture that worked and the fixture that didn’t work produced no change.  The bulbs were fine.

The next possibility was a bad ballast.  We’ve had to replace the fixtures since we’ve lived here and we got our replacement fixtures at Lowe’s.  So we wrote down all the numbers we could find on the old ballast and headed to Lowe’s.  Of course the old ballast was no longer available, so we purchased an ‘equivalent’ ballast and headed back home.

I was able to get the new ballast into the fixture without any problems, but that’s when I noticed that the wires weren’t long enough to reach the two ends of the fixture.  Much experimentation showed that there was no way I could attach the ballast to the fixture (necessary to ground the ballast) and get the wires to reach both ends of fixture.  So I did some splicing, taped all the splices well, and put everything back together.  I put the bulbs back into the fixture and flipped the switch.  All the lights came on . . . FINALLY!!!  Now all I had to do was put the drop-down ceiling back.

Of course once that was done, the day was practically over.  Needless to say, I didn’t get much done on that list I had in mind when I woke up.

Maybe we should consider renting.

Stupid Switch!

November 26, 2008


I mentioned on Saturday that we lost electricity in our computer room Friday night.  Even after unplugging everything from the outlets the circuit breaker kept tripping.

Betsy’s creativity with extension cords kept us  online, but we knew we had to get the problem fixed.  We just hoped the repair wouldn’t be too extensive or too expensive.

The circuit that failed is strange — it includes the outlets and ceiling light in the computer room, a mirror light in a bath room, and a lamppost light in the front yard.  I suspected that the problem might be related to the front yard light which hadn’t worked for a couple of years.

When the electrician arrived he quickly determined that we had a dead short someplace along the circuit.  The wiring in the lamppost  was properly tied off and insulated.  It was possible the  problem could be along the buried wire leading to the lamppost or in the walls of the room.  How could we find it?  While we were talking the electrician pointed to a switch and asked what it was.  We had to think for a moment but replied that it was a switch to the yard  light.

The switch position indicated that the light was off, but the electrician tested it and the switch was on!  He flipped the switch, reset the circuit breaker, and we had power in the computer room!

Duh!  To prevent a recurrence we had the electrician completely disable the switch.  We’ll put a solar light on the lamppost.