I was minding my own business Sunday morning when my wife plugs in our vacuum cleaner in our bedroom and a few minutes later she yells. A spark came from the wall outlet and the power went off to our bedroom. I’m no electrician but I’m a technical guy and I know how breakers work and I know some about how the power in my home works. When I decided to flip the breaker back on and it snapped and spark very loud and brightly, I knew there was more going on than the vacuum cleaner over loading the breaker. That wasn’t the problem. A small amount of investigation led me to believe there is a short circuit in the wiring.
The real problem is, I’m unemployed so I currently don’t have the funds to hire an electrician. I own my home so I can get away with doing my own electrical. I’ve never worked on this circuit before. What that means is that it’s the original wiring that came with the house, aluminum wiring to be precise. Now that’s not that bad, but numerous runs of this wiring have melted since we purchased the house almost twenty years ago. Aluminum isn’t really a good conductor, not as good as copper anyway. Aluminum is more resistant and thus gets hotter and causes us to use more energy to power our lives than copper would. I can only believe that in 1967 when this house was built, they couldn’t have foreseen the number of electrical devices we’d end up using, especially in the living room and kitchen.
Our Aluminum wiring gets over taxed and overheats from time to time and can melt. This causes short circuits and I end up repairing them. I do this by replacing the old, inefficient Aluminum wiring with copper. The has usually been a simple job really other than wiring that is stapled to the studs so you can’t pull it out. The biggest job I had was our kitchen, but that wall opened into the garage, so I removed the drywall in the garage to get to everything. This time it’s in the bedroom and I can’t rip out the walls to replace the wiring. The other issue is that the wiring is on a single run that connects wall to wall laterally instead of dropping down from the attic into the top-plate of the walls. What that means for me, is that I can’t run new wiring into the existing holes because there are not existing holes in the top-plate to drop wiring into.
The solution seems to be to go into the attic and find the correct location of each plug and switch, drill a hole into the top plat e of each wall and drop and fish out the new wiring. It might seem that way to some people, but to me, that’s no workable solution. I’m fat. Going into the attic for more than fifteen minutes at a time on a 95 degree summer day isn’t going to happen. I had to think of another solution. A solution my wife would accept. Exposed conduit maybe? The industrial look? I didn’t think she’d go for it, but she surprised me and we agreed. I’ve purchased all of the gray PVC electrical conduit and fittings I need and this morning I’m about to create a designer electrical system in my bedroom.
If you’ve read this far, you might be wondering why I’ve journaled about this today. It’s not about writing. It is about those things that interfere with my writing. I couldn’t let this fall by the wayside and not fix the problem. I couldn’t let my wife be upset over not finding a solution. If I was working full time and this happened, I would have taken a day or two off to fix it. So that’s what I’m doing. I still feel guilty for it. I should be working on my new manuscript, the outline actually. I do find it odd that I feel guilty for doing something that I need to do.