she’s working on her story—or trying to.
We go out to the car (detached garage) to go to Home Depot and pick up our lights for the basement (we’re installing daylight white fluorescent in place of yellow nastiness of 2-bulb incandescents.)
No power to the garage door.
Or to the lights.
We get out to look around, run in to throw the house breaker for the garage.
No joy. The breaker is loose. We conclude: must be the breaker.
We go to Lowe’s where we know we have senior people to ask about installing a breaker. Our alternative is 300.00 for an electrician, and we’re being fiscally conservative.
We find better lights and cheaper at Lowe’s, then are told ‘brand of breaker matters’.
We go home, extract old breaker, Jane runs to Ace (closer) and gets a single-switch 20 amp breaker.
We install it. Still no joy.
I go back to Lowes with the old breaker. Get a new new breaker.
No joy. I have also learned city code says there should be a breaker in the garage. Our garage is walled .in junk, a real mess. So…..I search where I can along the visible wiring. I find a hoe has fallen onto a transformer plugged into the circuit. I fix the situation, still no joy. I report this to Jane.
Meanwhile we have no power, and we have a mess. We have the garage door up for light in there, and just outside, at the end of our drive, two police cars have stopped a car and they have the occupants undergoing questioning while we’re trying to fix things. Jane has located the garage ‘breaker’, which consists of an ordinary lightswitch, meaning the power has an on-off but no short protection.
We now fear the line to the garage has broken somewhere under the koi pond. We can fix it, but this entails rearranging our breaker box, running a new line out to the garage, etc, which, by code, has to be buried 18″ deep in what amounts to rock.
Meanwhile a neighbor has come over, and he knows electricity and circuits, so we borrow a tester from him and discover the light switch, under its cover, is not wired right. So we’re working with that, the police are still at it, and at this point, we notice in the dim depths of the garage, there is a red light. This is on the battery charger. We start following that power down the line and find—yes, that plugin the transformer is in. It turns out that is glowing too: I didn’t know it was a GFI (groundfault interrupt) —and all the power passes through that circuit on its way to the light switches. Ha! Reset the button, the GFI switches back on, and we have power. It’s still not wired right: Jane spent the next while with very brittle cold wire, freezing her fingers off, and having the wire break repeatedly, rewiring that triple switch in the right sequence—
We’re still thinking of running a new line and installing a breaker box in the garage, which we now (after this learning curve) know how to do…we’d vowed never to work with direct house wiring—but y’know, it would have been a way lot more than 300.00 by the time an electrician figured this mess out, and now we are confident replacing breakers and even installing a breaker box, and we *have* worked with house wire without electrocuting ourselves, so we’re feeling at least triumphant and at least 300.00 richer.