Good morning all - July has arrived on the Shores of the Great Lake Erie with heat and a whole lot of humidity. First, a few words from our sponsor:
The Saturday Morning Home Repair Blog (SMHRB) is where we gather to discuss the many and varied aspects of home repair. Some here are trained professionals. Some, talented DIYers. Some, hopeless thumb-hammerers. All are welcome. Please feel encouraged to ask questions, share successes, lament sags, drips and cracks and, as always, share any advice that you have for the rest of us.I don't do heat, as they say, dry or otherwise. If gardening doesn't get done before 8AM it just doesn't get done. The same goes for most projects involving DIY and tools. Give me air conditioning! So, it was with great anxiety that this week began with an air conditioning emergency. Thank goodness for responsible property owners and licensed electricians.
Follow me below the orange danish for details.
For most things I won't hesitate to pull out a few tools and handle it myself. I like to restore, repaint and refinish things. I can pretty much take care of 90% of most plumbing problems. I can replace and/or repair small things that pop up around the house. And, now and then, I've been known to do a few small projects from scratch. I love the smell of fresh lumber. But, I draw the line when it comes to anything electrical that involves more than changing a bulb or vacuuming out a fan. And, that's right where I found myself last week.
The units on this property each have a single wall-unit that does quite well in keeping the place cool. My unit, along with one other, face a particularly difficult challenge as soon as summer arrives because we have a totally unobstructed southwest exposure in a building that's 80% red brick. Add to that the high ceilings and a roof that's only about 8" above the ceiling tiles and you've got yourself an easy-bake oven that you pay to live in.
By the end of last summer, my air conditioner had begun to pop the breaker at least once a day and sometimes more. I notified the property owners who said it would be dealt with before the arrival of this year's heat and humidity. That pretty much happened with a vengeance last weekend. In under an hour each time, the breaker popped and kept on popping long before my place had begun to get the slightest bit cool.
An emergency call to the property owners produced immediate results. A licensed electrician showed up at my door Tuesday morning and got right to work. A retired gent, he was full of great information to help me understand what had been happening and how it wasn't something I was doing that caused the problem.
Turns out that the dedicated line for the A/C was hooked up to a compact 15 amp breaker that sat smack dab in the middle of all the other breakers in the electrical panel. One quick test with the A/C on showed that the breaker was heating up way more quickly than it should have causing it to pop before long each time.
Short of totally rewiring the line the fellow said he didn't think there was a whole lot he could do but he suggested moving the particular breaker to a corner of the panel that was not occupied using a new, full-sized 15 amp breaker. At my insistence, a quick to call to the head of maintenance got the OK to go ahead even though he made it clear to them it might not be a real solution. I'm one of those oddballs who just won't spend other people's money when there's a doubt of a successful outcome. It's that whole respect for my landlord thing.
Long story short, darned if it didn't do the trick! We found out that, in fact, the line had more than just the A/C wired into it so I've had to move a few things around, but it's been cool and comfortable in my place with no popping breakers. Since the panel is inside a large closet and easily accessed I've been checking the temperature of the new breaker now and then just to be sure it isn't heating up, and it isn't.
The moral of the story here is know when to call in the pros. Being a DIY'er is great but I have no loss of face in admitting that something's beyond my skill level and, when it comes to all things electrical, it's way beyond that. I'm kind of fond of this whole staying alive thing and don't look good when my hair is standing on end, or worse. I take my hat off to all you folks out there who have spent the time to become paid professionals. Where would all the rest of us be without you. Thanks too to all those great old gents in the big box stores who so willingly share their knowledge when it is something we can handle on our own. I've learned more from them than I might otherwise have not.
I've got a few small tasks to handle but all in all it's going to be a quiet, tool free week for me. I need to get out the small art paintbrush to touch up a few spots on my kitchen cabinets where I've managed to chip the paint on the corners of those that get the most wear and I need to paint the 1/4 round trim that's been waiting all year to get back up in the kitchen. I plan on getting started on the frame I need to create to accommodate my headboard given that it no longer works with my new bed frame but that's easily accomplished long before the heat hits. That's about it around here.
What have you been up to lately? Got some pics? Got a question? This is the place to be for all things home repair whether you're a rookie or an old master. Besides, we're a fun bunch to hang out with. Go get a cuppa and join us.