Sunday, December 9, 2007

I'm No Electrician, But . . .

Our exterior outlet simply stopped working a few days ago. All the pretty christmas lights went dark.

A trip to the fuse box revealed no tripped circuits, so the problem was filed for later.

A few years back I picked up a book called Wiring 1-2-3 so I could learn how to change/install a doorbell, change a chandelier to something more modern, add a ceiling fan, etc. (all things you want to eventually learn how to do as a home-owner if you want to save yourself some coin).

Well, I got out the book today when a had a few free minutes. First, I learned outlets are called receptacles (by electricians). Then I learned all the various ways one might wire and ground a receptacle into one's home. I had a tester from my previous foray into wiring, so I pulled that out preparatory to sticking the probes into the socket to make sure the wires were cold. Turns out the battery in the tester was dead so I had to take that apart and charge a 9V battery to get it up and running.

Anyway, about 45 minutes in I was standing in the garage again looking at the fuse box, when the idea struck me that perhaps the exterior receptacles were on a circuit with a GFCI outlet located elsewhere in the house. Sure enough, on the other side of the garage I found one, pushed the reset button, and ta-da, exterior christmas decorations are back to being festive twinkling lights.

Wife thinks I'm smart but really, I'm just lucky.


Anonymous said...

I have always found being good makes you lucky! ;)
Keep an eye on that as something caused it to pop in the first place. Maybe just a fluke, but if it pops again it may be something that needs more investigation.

Bruce Cordell said...

Good point BWJ!

You know, Sometimes I see little kids out there with paper clips messing around, shoving one end into the outlet. Not sure what they're doing. Maybe that has something to do with it? ;-)

Anonymous said...

You bet! That will short it out. We used to do that at school. Make a U out of a paper clip and jam it into a receptacle below the clock and it would short out the circuit and clock. Of course someone finally got zapped and we had to stop. I am guessing the kids shorted the circuit and popped the breaker, lucky for them you have a ground fault receptacle!

Bruce Cordell said...

Oh, uhm, I was joking about seeing kids poking paper clips into the outlet--didn't realize you used to ACTUALLY do this :-) But, maybe it's what really happened in truth, eh? Or Dee did it. I blame her :-)