Friday, July 27, 2012

You gotta play it safe around electricity.

Let's start this post with a throwback PSA that summarizes the extent of my knowledge of home electrical systems:

More accurately, I guess, this WAS the extent of my knowledge. When we were first looking at our house and I looked at the electrical panel in the basement, I thought to myself, Huh, that looks old school. Our inspection confirmed this. We have a fuse box. I know that nowadays people refer to their circuit breaker boxes as fuse boxes, but let me just clarify that we have a fuse box, fo' real. It looks like this. There are little screw-in fuses that go into it.

Before he told us that we should replace it, our inspector explained that fuse boxes are really not such a bad technology, provided you don't screw in higher-strength fuses than you should, and provided you don't have anyone in the house who might playfully stick their finger in one of the sockets and thereby fry their insides to a crisp. Well. There are already higher-strength fuses than there should be in there. They allow 25 amps of current to flow on wires that are meant to accommodate 15 amps. We didn't do this; it already was that way, and the inspector pointed it out as a reason that fuse boxes are really far from foolproof.

So the day after we moved in we had two electricians come over to check it out and give us an estimate on changing this bad boy over to circuit breakers. Circuit breakers are so simple. You overload the circuit, the switch flips, you unplug your junk and go downstairs and flip the switch back. When you blow a fuse, you have to have another fuse on hand to replace it. It's like a light bulb. We haven't technically blown one yet, but when I use my blowdryer it makes a sound like this:


Wherein the big Rs represent the normal blowdryer sound and the little Rs represent the sad flagging sound it makes briefly in between bursts of normal sounds. This makes me nervous and I don't like to use the blowdryer in these conditions, which explains why my hair has looked so disheveled for the past couple days.

We booked our winning electrical company to come in two weeks, so hopefully I only have to tolerate this hair situation for a little longer. My blowdryer and me, we cannot be torn asunder.

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