Saturday, November 21, 2015

Electrical Meanderings

I've been planning to upgrade the electric system in the mobile home for months but I just haven't made it a priority.  On Wednesday, I was trying to cook dinner when the power went out.  I thought that was really strange since I was only using the microwave, but I flipped the circuit breaker outside and decided to cook with the stove top instead.  A few minutes later, everything went dark again.  I was really puzzled but flipped the circuit and finished heating dinner on just one burner.  The only thing I could think of was that the circuit breaker was bad.  I have never had any experience with a bad circuit breaker so I was just guessing.

Later that night, when all of the lights were off, the modem suddenly went off.  Now, I was really confused.  I couldn't imagine how the modem could trip the circuit on its own.  I decided to move the modem to my nephew's room so that we would have internet access at least.  This involved going outside and fishing the phone cord through the window while in my slippers. As I am setting the modem up, my nephew mentions that the outlets on one side of his room are not working and the water heater went off.  Slowly, it dawned on me that the electric oil filled radiator in his room had been plugged in and on since he got home from school which explained the earlier power outages while I was trying to cook, AND, he had just turned the water heater on which explained the power going out when "only" the modem was plugged in.  It turns out that half of the lights and outlets in the kitchen/living room, his bedroom, and the back bedroom (storage room) are all connected to one tiny 15 amp circuit.  So, the kitchen appliances, the heater in his room, and the water heater are all fighting for the same power.  Luckily, the previous owner installed a separate outlet in his room so the heater now has it's own circuit.  The kitchen appliances and the water heater in the storage room typically are not on at the same time.  Things are ok for now but soon I hope to install some additional outlets on their own circuits.

These experiences are certainly helping me understand the basics of home electric.  When I wire my barn-shed I will be sure to add enough circuits so that none get overloaded.

In other news, the engineers came out and tested my tie-down anchors and THEY PASSED!  I was so nervous because the test was so expensive and I didn't want to have to have it done twice.  The anchors that my nephew and I hand dug moved a little bit under the strain but then they held at 400 lbs for two minutes.

The mysterious pull test machine.
I can finally move to the next steps for the barn-shed which are extending the fence, skirting, and finalizing the permit.  And then I have to paint it.  I never have enough time and money for every project but I will keep on doing little things here and there and eventually it will all get finished.


Lizzie@her MFW Homeworld said...

Congratulations on anchor success! lets hope electrical success follows!

Dave said...

The electric wiring in my ladyfriend's apartment building is a little like yours. In her kitchen, she can't run her microwave oven and her small, stand-alone electric oven at the same time because it trips the circuit-breaker. It becomes a little awkward for her when cooking some meals which need both ovens. We figured this out the hard way the first time it happened and the fridge lost its power for a little while. It was a minor PITA to reset the circuit breaker (the switch was sticky and didn't want to reset).

Other wiring flaws include no 3-pronged outlets outside the kitchen which can limit the use and the placement of certain appliances. And the bathroom has no outlets which is sometimes a nuisance for her.

You wear many hats, Daizy. Now you can add planting anchors and electrician to your resume.

Michelle H. said...

Congrats on passing the anchor tests! I know that must have been a little anxiety for you - it would have been for me!

Daizy said...

Thanks, Lizzie. My current plan is to just watch were I plug things in so that I don't overload the circuit. The outside switch that I was hoping to make an indoor switch is unfortunately on the same circuit as everything else so I isn't going to be the quick fix I was hoping for.

Daizy said...

Dave, the bathroom with no outlets reminds me of an apartment I rented in college. I finally found one outlet next to the light bulb with made it very difficult to dangle a blow drier or curling iron from such a high spot. I can't imagine having no bathroom outlets at all.

Daizy said...

Michelle H, I was very anxious. I was standing out there watching them the entire time. Every time an anchor moved a little bit I was sure it was going to pull right out of the ground.