Tuesday, July 13, 2010

How Does An A/C Do That?

Started my Monday with exercise, and that's when I heard the buzz.

It was coming from the breaker box where the wire had burned through a lug, and it scared the tar out of me.

I was out of the room like a shot, and, sure enough, the A/C had come on. I shut it down and went back to exercise.

Later in the morning I called Generator Guy and left him a message. He called me back and said he would be out after he finished the current job for the day.

The day went, as days go here, hot and sticky and made me wonder what it is about this state that makes me love it so much. In my case, love is not only blind, it is heat resistant!

Generator Guy came around 6pm. He had me turn on the unit, and sure enough he heard the buzz that meant a surge of electricity. It was short and sharp, and did not, curiously enough, cause any kind of unusual reading on the meter he was using. There is electricity coming back through that wire, somehow, but it is not much, not long, and shouldn't have been enough to burn through the lug the first time.

Not that it should happen at all, but considering this house, it is not surprising.

The lady who sold it to us used to do her own electrical work. And plumbing. The stories I could tell of what we have had to repair that she messed up are numerous, including sewer lines, water lines, and all of the wiring including new boxes indoors and out.

I am starting to wonder if she hasn't left us a problem we haven't identified yet.

Generator Guy, a certified electrician and good friend of the family since he hung around our house with my younger brother as a kid, explained a whole lot to me about wire ratings and lugs and taps that I couldn't repeat if my life depended on it, but the upshot of it is that I trust him and he says we are not overloading anything.

He called an A/C friend, who said that if the previous repair to the A/C, the capacitor, is bad or the wrong rating for a kick start capacitor, it might, maybe, perhaps cause that little buzz. It should not, considering how much amperage is going through the wires even when it buzzes, have burned out that properly rated lug.

So, now the A/C people will need to come back out and see if they can find something, anything at all.

If they do, great, it can be fixed. If not, well, the next step, which we will take whether they identify a problem with the unit or not, is to put a whole house surge protector at the main panel. That way, no matter what, the worst can happen -- overload, lightning strike, feedback loop, whatever -- and the house won't burn down.

I hate throwing even more money into this place, when it just can't be salvaged ultimately. We have to, though, because we have to keep the place habitable until the value of the land comes up to be enough to pay off the mortgage, so we can tear it down and sell the lot and come out even.

It also beats the heck out of a house fire.

Today is

Barbershop Music Appreciation Day

Beans and Franks Day

Birth of Osiris -- Ancient Egyptian Calendar

Embrace Your Geekness Day

Festival of the Three Cows -- Basque

Fool's Paradise Day

Go West Day

Gruntled Workers Day

International Puzzle Day

La Retraite Aux Flambeaux -- France (night watch, before Bastille Day)

National French Fries Day

St. Henry the Emperor's Day (patron of Finland)

St. Mildred's Day

Ulambana (Obon) - Buddhist (reunion of family ancestors with the living), through the 15th

Birthdays Today

Cheech Marin, 1946
Erno Rubik, 1944
Harrison Ford, 1942
Patrick Stewart, 1940
Jack Kemp, 1935
Bob Crane, 1928
Dave Garroway, 1913
Nathan Bedford Forrest, 1821
Julius Caesar, BC100

Today in History

Capt James Cook begins 2nd trip (Resolution) to South Seas, 1772
William Wordsworth, on a walking tour through the Wye Valley, visited the ruins of Tintern Abbey and a few miles further on composed a poem about them, 1798
Greek War of Independence: Greeks defeated Ottoman forces at Thermopylae, 1822
Henry R Schoolcraft discovers the source of the Mississippi River, 1832
After 9,957 unnumbered patents, the U.S. Patent Office issues Patent No. 1, for locomotive wheels, 1836
Queen Victoria becomes the first British monarch to live at Buckingham Palace in London, 1837
First day of the New York Draft Riots in response to President Abraham Lincoln's Enrolment Act of Conscription, 1863
Horace Greeley publishes his editorial advising young men to "Go West, young man, go west and grow up with the country," 1865
PT Barnum's American Museum was destroyed in one of the most spectacular fires in New York City's history, 1865
Gold was discovered near Cochrane, Ontario, Canada, 1909
The British airship R34 lands in Norfolk, England, completing the first airship return journey across the Atlantic in 182 hours of flight, 1919
Alexander Butterfield reveals the existence of the Nixon tapes to the special Senate committee investigating the Watergate break in, 1973
The Live Aid benefit concert, a telecast fundraising concert for famine relief in Ethiopia, was held in London and Philadelphia, as well as other venues such as Sydney and Moscow, 1985


  1. No, no! Don't tear down the house once you've paid it off. Torch the place. Make a ceremony of it: start the fire, dance all around the house chanting ritual songs, like 'burn, baby, burn!' Then break out the marshmallows and start roasting.

  2. Amen! That's actually what I want to do, but Sweetie wants to use a bulldozer to do it himself, and I think the fire department might have some regulation against it. Once I'm free of this, I don't want my freedom curtailed in a jail cell!