Small Town Blogging

My take on things

They don’t build them like they used to

So I decided to delve into the ancient wiring of my house. We had an incident about 2 years ago where our breaker box fried and the main house breaker fused open. I followed the smells of burnt wood and plastic into the basement to find the breaker actually glowing red hot for the one breaker. We had always had trouble with the breaker popping off because about 90% of the house was wired into the same one. After getting a new breaker box we tried to break the wires up, but because of the old wiring style of the house we still had about 85% of the house on one 15 amp breaker.

No longer! I meticulously went through the wiring in the basement and separated everything off those old double strand wires into new wires and tried to break the house up into rooms on the breaker. Unfortunately the builders of the house split most of the rooms off in the walls so I could not seperate some, but there has defiantly been an improvement over what we had.

I think the hardest part of the job was trying to figure out when the wires where hot or ground. Todays wires have a hot, ground, and nuetral and those older ones usually only had 2 colors without a neutral so it made it tricky to trace the circuit at some points. I often found a wire vanishing up into the floor from the hot line and then several feet later finding the ground coming out of the floor no where near where the hot vanished. I’m sure those old electricians knew exactly what they were doing in their time, but I had the distinct impression that a monkey wired this house at some points!

Update : As a side note, when I showed the old wire I had pulled of the basement to a few people and pointed out how fragile, cracked, and exposed it had become I got a response of “Wow, you’ve had so many close calls with this house. For certain you cannot deny that you are being watched over and protected”!

Gag. I had to agree. Someone WAS watching over our house for us to miss so many near disasters (shorted fuse box, old exposed wiring, ceiling fan that was jammed and had been running all day and gotten very hot by the time it was discovered, a car with the oil level nearly empty, and a shorted clothes dryer that had a heating element running cherry red; to name a few). Thinking back on it, I have come to the conclusion that I know exactly who it is and who I need to thank for saving our  house and properties so many times …

Me. Either the smell of something burning, the sound of something humming, routine maintenance checks, or a planned examination have allowed me to detect that something was wrong in each case so that I could correct the problem. In all events it was attention and response that saved us from some terrible and/or costly calamity. Nothing supernatural about it. Just me with my eyes open and a bit of common sense of tracking things down when there are strange smells or sounds in the air.


May 2, 2007 - Posted by | Discussion

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