Sunday, September 4, 2016

A Harrowing Week?

My husband says this has been a harrowing week. Harrowing? Because of two tropical storms, Madeline and Lester, that threatened to hit Hawaii? 

No, because of the electrical work at our jungalow. It’s an old surfer shack, and the electrical wiring finally wore out. We didn’t notice at first until the lights started flickering overhead. Every night for a couple of weeks, then a month. 

Oh, it’s just Maui Electric. Erratic power fluctuations. Or maybe our neighbor who is using overhead high beam grow lights on his medical marijuana patch next door is drawing too much power at night. We’re hooked up to the same electric meter.

The lights continued to flicker each night. We contacted our property manager. She said she’s been having flickering lights too. So, it must be Maui Electric.

Then one night, DH had a hunch to check the circuit box. It was hot. Not burning hot, but toasty warm. Like an oven that had been turned off.

He spent the next two hours checking every circuit in the house, turning on breakers and turning off breakers, each time returning to check the circuit box. He turned off several breakers and we finally went to bed.

Next morning, he turns back on the breakers and it gets hot again, during the day. So it’s not our neighbor’s pot patch.

The electrician came Monday morning and told us we have angels watching over us. We’re lucky the house didn’t burn down. It wasn’t just a bad breaker or two, the whole circuit board was bad and melting.  

TIP: If your lights are flickering, feel your circuit board!

An electrician's nightmare? Underneath our old circuit box. A fire waiting to happen.


This reminds me of a funny epitaph we saw on the internet:

Here rests P. J.
He was a good husband,
a wonderful father,
but a bad electrician.

The electrician came again the following week and shut down power to the house to replace the circuit box. 

It rained that day and our neighbor let us run an electric line from her outside plug to our house, across her back yard, over the fence, up to the roof with C clamps, and down into our kitchen window.  I only had to take 3 trips to her house to set up the power cords:

1.      First time, the cord was too short,
2.      Second time, I tied the cords together and they reached over the fence.
3.      Third time, I went back with duct tape, untied the cords, and then taped the cords together. DH said it was not sufficient to tie the cords because of the rain. If the plug got exposed to any water, then it would short out the neighbor’s power.

Several days later with several visits from the electrician, we have a new circuit board, holes in the wall, plaster dust on every surface, and exposed wiring. Mike, our electrician, showed us several breakers with melted corners. They were like teeth that look smile-perfect from the front but are rotting inside. 

The arrows point to melted circuit breakers. They should not have missing corners!

The house didn’t burn down. The hurricanes didn’t hit Hawaii. If this is a harrowing week, I’ll take harrowing! Considering everything that's going on in the world, I feel like it’s been an amazingly lucky week. 

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