Thursday, September 27, 2012

Don't think that's supposed to be smoking...

Earlier this morning I was thinking "hmm nothing too interesting has happened lately and I don't really have anything to blog about."  So the Future verbalized an evil chuckle and rubbed it's hands together and made fire!!!! 
But I'm getting ahead of myself, so let's start at the beginning shall we?
I got a call yesterday that an Astro guy was coming by at 1:30pm to complete our termite bonding for the year.  This means they just poke around outside your house and then shine a flashlight inside your house and make sure that you don't have termites.  And then I hand them a check and if on the off chance I should one day have a termite problem, they would pay to fix it.  Probably not going to happen but this worry wart thinks it's worth the peace of mind. 
So I'm sitting at home, eating lunch and waiting on the Astro man, and "ding dong" goes the doorbell.  (this will become important in a minute)  So I go and talk to the Astro man who tells me he's going to start outside.  I say no problem, and head back inside to finish eating.  And then I hear it.  A buzzing sound.  Anyone that knows me knows that I am easily annoyed by repetitive sounds like buzzing, ringing, etc.  I mute the tv for a minute and realize the sound is coming from the doorbell box on the living room wall. The cover had fallen off a couple of weeks ago, so I assume that we had not put the cover back on well enough and the vibration of the bell was causing the metal cover to buzz.  So I grab the step stool and push the cover...still buzzing.  I tap it a couple of times to see if that helps...still buzzing.  So I decide to just pull the cover off, and boy am I glad I did!  Within a few seconds this horrible smell like burning tar hits me and I see a stream of smoke coming off where the wires are connected.  And then I realize, holy crap this thing is about to catch on fire!!!!  I also quickly realize that I am not tall enough to do anything about the wires and run outside to ask the Astro guy to come inside and help me.  I run to the breaker box in our bedroom and (of course!) the breakers are mislabeled.  After a couple of tries I find the correct breaker and the Astro guy unscrews the wires that are smoking.  He apologizes to me over and over and vowes that he will never again touch a doorbell and I keep trying to tell him it's not his fault!   
The offending unit
At this point I'm afraid that there had been sparks on the other side of the wall which could cause a fire and I wouldn't realize it and go back to work and my house would burn down.  So we both decide that it's probably best for me to call the Fire Department.  And no, I didn't go all nuts and call 911, I just calmly called the regular number.  So they send some guys out to check out the situation.  The firefighters do a little inspecting and can feel that even 10 minutes later, the metal and plastic on the panel in the living room are still very hot to the touch.  One of the guys inspects the doorbell button outside and discovers that there is corrosion around the actual button, causing it to stay pushed in, instead of popping back out.  Apparently the transformers for doorbells are only rated to receive rapid fire electrical currents, and the button staying pushed in was causing a steady current of electricity.  That amount of electricity was melting the plastic around the wires and making it smoke.  I just kept thinking about what could have happened if I had not been home when someone rang the doorbell.  It could've caused some serious damage!  
The offending doorbell button
So at the moment, we have the wires pulled out and taped and are keeping that breaker turned off.  We're also going to get an electrician to come and do a run through of our house to make sure that there are no real electrical problems.  So yeah, I will never think again about nothing exciting happening and just be glad when life is routine!


Anonymous said...

After reading the 2nd sentence in this blog, I am totally convinced that you should be a writer, journalist, reporter,etc. Your keen sense of a descriptive statement just amazes this old Nan

Teresa Close said...

I am in total agreement with Nan!!!! That sentence is the best thing you have ever written!!! Amazing!!!!