What could go wrong?

Personal Insurance News


By the Insurance Experts

It is a normal Friday evening, well normal for us anyway… Go to start some dinner and put some fish into the Air fryer on the counter. Great cooking device if you haven’t used one, we love our fish and chips and this makes perfect fish and chips every time. Back to the evening… hit the power button and POP! power goes off, but not through the whole kitchen. What do most people do? go check the breaker box and reset the kitchen circuit breaker. But that wasn’t the issue!

Now it’s time to do some head-scratching, granted our house is on the older side – built in 1951, but the previous owners did a remodel in the early 1980s with one of those cool 80’s style kitchens. Give it a few more years and it will be back in style.

So what could be the issue? In the course of checking a few things, we figure out that our fridge isn’t powered up, and the range hood isn’t turning on. Getting more perplexing by the movement, we call a friend who is a local electrician on a Friday night to see if they can give us some pointers over the phone on what to check. He runs through a few options, all of which do not lead to power turning back on.

He offers to come over and take a look at it on Sunday for us, so on Saturday, we check a few more things to see if maybe we missed something. A GFCI outlet somewhere that might be tripped, maybe the 2nd house panel just in case the electrician wired part of the kitchen to it. No luck, so we leave the fridge in the middle of the kitchen and go about our weekend, wondering what could be the issue, and thinking this is going to be really expensive if it’s not that simple.

On Sunday, our friend who is a licensed electrician (lucky for us!) comes over and we start going through the electrical system. We pull off all the outlet covers so he can see what’s going on, he notes different size wiring, and while to code, isn’t the best practice! He is able to determine that the two outlets that are not working are on the same circuit, but also on a circuit where other outlooks are working, which is perplexing to me…

He is determined there is a junction box somewhere that has a loose wire, so we start tracking and looking to find where wires are going, pulling out drawers and emptying cabinets to see if we can find this mysterious junction box. No luck. Then we pull out the standing stove and behind it is an old dryer plug, that looks to be open and has several different connections in it.

We turn the power back on and put the tester to it and it is showing power to the source, I push the range top hood light button and now it works… ok, this is weird to me. Then he moves a wire and the light goes off, and he knows we have found the area of the problem. He moves the wire again and you hear this sizzling, like bacon frying in a pan, and he tells me to go turn off the power.

As we dig into it, we realize there is a junction box in the wall, behind the old 80’s Formica and sheetrock that luckily is behind the range. We open the wall up and find a small junction box, and when we open it up (power off!) we find the culprit!

This doesn’t look good! luckily there was a professional in the house and he was able to remove the bad wiring and fix it as it should be. This could have been a major issue, most likely the wire nut wasn’t super tight, and the load put on it from the kitchen appliances on that circuit created an arcing scenario. The Junction box kept the issue from spreading into our wall and creating a full-on house fire. The thing is, we found two other junction boxes will our covers, if it had been in one of those, who knows what could have happened.

We are slated for a remodel soon, and when that happens all of the walls in our house are being opened up – and after this, we have decided to have the electrical systems redone and brought to code.

The thing is, as we are going through this issue it’s not that uncommon of a problem. In fact, I had a house fire in a previous house that was contributed to something very similar. It was over a $300,000 loss when it happened to me, and luckily I had the proper coverage in place, and no life was lost.

Talking to the electrician they come across this from time to time, and while he says it’s not a common occurrence it happens enough that he knew the most likely cause. I, like a lot of people, often feel that this will not happen to me, but knowing that I have had two homes with similar issues, it really makes me think.

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