Sunday, September 04, 2011

Labor day weekend

It's a holiday weekend, and true to form, we've had a disaster here at Chateau CycleDog. It's a family tradition to have an injury, sickness, or a minor emergency every holiday and this one is no exception.

I took a vacation day on Friday. Mary and I ran some errands in the afternoon. When we returned home, the air conditioning wasn't working. It was about 100F outside and felt hotter in the house. The house AC didn't work. Nor did the electricity in the kitchen. The dryer motor turned but the heater never came on.

I suspected a bad circuit breaker, so I went out to the garage and reset all the breakers. It didn't help, so I pulled the cover off the breaker box, and began checking the power on each line. Every other line was dead. Naturally, I discovered this after a trip to the hardware store and replacing several breakers on the presumably dead lines.

So I called Wade. He knows high voltage stuff - I don't. But I learned quickly.

He said one of the lines coming into the house was probably bad. There are two hot lines and one ground. If you lose one of the hots, whatever is connected to that side will not work - hence the voltage on every other breaker rather than all of them. Likewise, the dryer works off both sides. Lose one and the motor may work but the heater will not. He came over to check with a voltmeter since I was testing with a simple go/no go detector. Sure enough, one side was dead.

Mary and Lyndsay had left to go shopping...and escape into some air conditioning, no doubt. By the time Wade diagnosed the problem, it was 9PM. I called customer service at PSO, waded through the voice menu system only to be told my problem couldn't be resolved that way, so I'd have to speak with a real person. In short order, a tech was on the way to the house! I expected to be put off until the next day or even next week, but he was here in about 45 minutes.

In a few minutes, he determined that the outside box with the electric meter showed the same problem I'd described - one hot side was dead. He went to the backyard box and found it was good, so the fault lies somewhere in between. The line is broken. So he hooked up a transformer to feed power from the working line over to the dead one. All the lights flicker when the AC turns on, so there's a heavy current load on the transformer.

I am truly grateful that PSO responded so quickly. Mary has great difficulty handling the heat, so going without AC for a couple of days was going to be an ordeal.

My biggest fear was that our ancient and creaky air conditioner had finally given up, but if we're lucky it will see us through this season. It's time for a new one, however, since this one is over 25 years old!

At least this holiday didn't involve any knife wounds, blood all over the kitchen, or similar bodily harm. I'm thankful for the little things.

Labels: , ,


Blogger The Donut Guy said...

The last time we had a major power outage, our son was about 10 years old and at the time had fairly serious asthma.

No power, no nebulizer......luckily, we found a car 12v to 110 v adapter at a Radio Shack.

3:16 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home