In my time in the working world, before entering ‘career land,’ I did many things, from roofing and landscaping to vacuuming out port-o-johns and ski lift operator.
While not doing any of it long enough to achieve ‘expert’ status, I have managed to pick up enough skill to get through basic handy-man jobs.
One thing though, that I never, ever worked with, was electricity. Even basic electrical work is above me. Hell, I get sweaty changing the batteries in the TV remote.
I can run a chainsaw, change my oil, fix a computer, process an arrest, teach your kid Social Studies, and more….but I simply cannot grasp the simplest concepts of electrical work beyond “plug it in.”
So when the house we are renting- a 1970s modular, started to have some minor electrical problems, I got nervous. I’d flip a breaker here and there, but that was all I was willing to try.
…Now, when I say ‘minor’ issues, I mean nothing more than the act of running the dryer would blow the entire sub panel and plunge the whole house into darkness. Nothing huge right?
My wife disagreed. Apparently after two years of hanging laundry to air dry, trips to the laundromat, and very gingerly trying the dryer now and then, I was given a choice. Fix the dryer and the electricity issue, or Fix the dryer and the electricity issue.
Now, she knows as well as I do that electrical work isnt my cup of tea, so she really meant “Have it fixed.”
As handy as I always liked to think I am, my brother makes me look like a moron. He’s a certified carpenter, mason, and heavy equipment operator with the army, and is apprenticing with a master electrician in his civilian life. So I called him.
One look at the sub panel and he knew the whole thing had to be replaced. Fuses that arent even made anymore would pop from their housing with the slightest touch.
So he did some work on it and promised to come back in a few days to change the panel. After he left….our hot water went away.
Back he came, fiddled some more, and nothing. We drained the hot water tank, changed the heating elements, refilled it….and nothing.
Finally he said “Screw it.” I met him at a local home improvement store, laid out a hundred bucks worth of equipment, and he changed the panel.
Now we are a fully operational household again for the first time in…well, a while.
Hot water, dryer, and an electrical sub-panel that is no longer a fire trap or mouse portal.
As a bonus, I got to play a bit too. The new panel box is considerably larger than the old one, so I had to build a new wooden frame around it to enclose everything.
One less thing on the “Honey-do” list, and a much happier wife.
All is well.