TheHusband and I were pretty busy this weekend with lots of Martha Stewarting it up around Throbbing Manor, which precluded me getting any more writing done other then some tweaking of a few things. I am fairly pleased with myself having completed almost two weeks straight of writing in my private journal, something which I haven’t done this long of a stretch in ages. I’m also getting in the habit of taking a daily picture so if I can’t get write, I can at least embed an image to kind of illustrate how my day is going. Because sometimes you want to showcase just how awesome the internet really is.
The biggest relief was when my brother popped over on Friday and Sunday and fixed the electrical in our boiler and stove. Over Labor Day weekend, with a house full of guests, the neighborhood transformer blew not once, but twice in the same day. The first blowout happened in the morning and power restored within a few hours after. The second blowout happened that same evening and was a number of short burst where the entire neighborhood flickered on one minute/off one minute for about ten minutes. Once that arc finished, we discovered the stove and the boiler, which were both on the same circuit, were fried.
We could write a novel about Throbbing Manor’s electrical problems, with the first chapter on how not to use three various types of electrical (knob and tube, modern, a hybrid) running through the house. Upon my brother’s recommendation1, this summer before my surgery, we buried the house electrical from the pole to the house so it is no longer aerial, upped our panel from 100 amps to 200amps, and repositioned the house surge protector2 from the sub-panel in the basement to the main panel in the garage. Every time Jeff comes over to do work on one small project, he uncovers a plethora of other issues that are bigger then the original project.
Throbbing Manor is almost 90 years old, and we live in a historic district where we’re one of the “newer” houses built, so coupled with the houses all trying to modernize their interiors, it’s not terribly surprising to get the occasional blown transformer. Except, this happens nearly every month and so much so, we signed up for the appliance plan via our electrical company that if ANYTHING should ever happen and an appliance breaks, they will fix it for free3. Since it was Labor Day weekend, I called on Tuesday and find out that our boiler is not under the repair for the plan.
me: “But it says ‘furnace and other heating elements,’ ” I insist to the customer service rep.
Consumers: “Except for boilers.”
me: “But when I called to set up the plan, and asked about boilers, the assured me it was part of the plan.”
Consumers: “I’m sorry you were told incorrect information, but that is not true. For an additional $7/month, we can add the boiler addendum.”4
me: “Just so I’m clear: Even though our boiler and stove are fried due to transformer blowing out not once but twice on the same day, and this is Consumer’s fault, I have to pay for the repairs on my uncovered equipment.”
Consumer’s was quick to get the stove repair to us within a day but he had to “order a part,” which was nearly two weeks ago. Boilers, due to their complexity, are expensive. Since we were going to have to pay for the boiler ourselves, we waited until my brother was free to look at electrical before calling the boiler people because they would have had to call an electrician to fix the fried bits anyway since Jeff discovered the arcing over the years coupled with shoddy repair jobs on the house electrical, mixed in with sketchy installation of circuits was causing various bits to melt in the shut off switch attached to the boiler, which he also repaired.
By fixing the circuit the stove and the boiler were on, viola! The stove now works! Which means, we no longer have to use a lighter to get the range going (gas stove/electrical ignition) and we could use the oven.
Edit 1/03/2013: This has been languishing in my drafts box since September. I think I was planning on finishing this post after I made a batch of pear cherry chutney but never did the update, hence for the abrupt ending.
1. My brother is a licensed electrician. Don’t try this at home.
2. Brother checked and verified the house surge protector is working so why it didn’t catch the arc the second time reamins a mystery.
3. Consumer’s offers the ASP which is insurance for your appliances. Most energy providers have this kind of service and it’s way better then the typical renter/house insurance since there is typically no deductible. ( I would still keep house/rental insurance for other things, but for appliances, this is the way to go!) You pay $X dollars a month, attached to your bill, and you call if there is an issue. They send out a repair person, and you don’t get charged for the visit or the repairs (however, the last bit can be variable but it’s typically free / low cost then if you did not have the plan).
4. I signed up for the boiler addendum. Dammit.