As it turned out it was a very, very small thing – in the beginning anyway – but it had created a very frustrating problem.
Nearly half the house was in darkness. The other half was cheery bright. To bring power to the darkness, extension cords plugged into extension cords which were plugged into lamps, the tv, etc. snaked along the floor.
We replaced the breaker. No change.
We plugged in a hair dryer. It didn’t turn on.
All the outlets in the dark half of the house lit up an electrical tester but the power that was available was insufficient to turn on the light.
The darkness had a power all its own. One that held no less than three rooms under the very same roof in its unyielding grip.
It was as if the home had a split personality.
In 1886 Leo Tolstoy wrote the five-act drama “The Power of Darkness”. It was forbidden in Russia until 1902.
Perhaps that was because the theme is dark, sordid and evil.
Two families are racked from within by seduction, abandonment, incest and murder.
On the very day on which the stepdaughter is to be married – the stepdaughter whose incestuous relationship resulted in the birth of a baby whom the stepfather then murdered at the counsel of his wife who had herself murdered her husband in order to marry him – he surrenders himself and confesses to the police.
It is then that the house lights come on, the curtain closes.
Such is the power of darkness.
One thing leads to another. Which leads to another. And another.
That was the problem in our home. All the outlets in the dark half, including the bedroom light and the switch that controlled it, were connected. One to another.
One by one we removed the cover plates, extracted the outlets and checked the wires.
Hidden behind a dresser in the bedroom closest to the electrical panel we found the problem.
A loose wire in the very first outlet that was linked to all the others, all along the line.
We reattached the wire, turned the breaker back on and the house – the whole house – was delivered from darkness to light.
One small wire had to be found and reconnected.
The one that led to everything else.
John Arbeeny says
And so it is often with life. Even the most apparently “complicated” problems when traced back to their origins originated with a “loose wire”. I often hear politicians declare that such-and-such is a complicated problem which requires an equally complicated solution. That is a sign that they often have no clue what the problem actually is or for that matter the solution required. Most problems in life are actually problems, the source and solution of which begin at the beginning.
P Rose says
Now you’ve done it. You just publicly revealed a violation of the National Electrical Code. Its not legal to use multiple daisly chained extension cords for regular service. You can now expect a knock at your door from an electrical inspector. Worst case scenario is the house could be closed to occupancy until the issue is corrected.
John Arbeeny says
Seriously though……the fact that you were getting the appearance of power to the affected sockets while unable to operate anything from them indicates that you had a disconnected common …white…wire to the panel. The white wire acts as a ground back to the panel completing the circuit. The sockets were “hot” (black wire) never the less and represented an electric shock hazard if you became grounded instead! It’s the reason you ALWAYS trip the breaker off when you work on any electric circuit.
Wow! Who knew you could learn so much by reading Suburban Times.