Friday, August 1, 2008

Buzzing and Crackling

Just got a service call from a fellow Burning Man attendee. Her outlets in the living room worked sporadically and then would suddenly lose power. I first checked all of the breakers, nothing had tripped. I explored a mysterious fuse box in the closet, but there was no power at all. The last step was checking to see where the knob n' tube in these outlets were being fed by new wiring. I crawled under the house accompanied by the shoeless homeowner (burners are hard core that way), only to find several junction boxes. The first had no power, the second only had 48 volts (instead of the required 120) and the third was buzzing, sputtering and crackling. I had found the problem. Any movement led to more sparks. The wires had been loosely twisted and taped with non-electrical tape, so even the movement of walking on the floor above shook the wires enough to cause loose connections. I re-spliced with wire nuts and real tape in all three boxes and headed upstairs to find the outlets completely functioning. I love quick solutions!