Building Codes Aren’t Bad Things

I’m a little under the weather (thanks, INM lady, for passing your cold to me) so I spent the bulk of yesterday afternoon and evening curled up on the couch with Bonita binge watching the Netflix series Ingobernable, by far the longest and most complex thing I’ve ever followed in Spanish. By 9:30, I was ruing a cliffhanger and mindlessly watching clips of M*A*S*H on YouTube when the power went out.

Ah, a sign from the universe to get thee to bed, I thought! And then, I noticed that the neighbours had power and the streetlights were on.

I went through the house to see if I might just be having problems with one circuit and discovered that was the case — I had power upstairs and in my laundry room, but nowhere else. I decided to deal with this in the morning and went to bed. But I did not dare run the AC in case there were major issues with the power generally and a fan was no match against the room being at nearly 40C. Add in the noise from open windows and I did not get a wink of sleep. I normally run the AC an hour before bed to really drop the temp and then I just run the ceiling fan all night and am fine, even in the current heat the locals stop me on the street to complain about, but last night was like trying to sleep in a very humid sauna!

I still had no power to the lower half of the house this morning. The fridge was still cold and I made the decision to slide it all the way to the office, plug it into an extension cord, run that extension cord out the window, and then plug the cord into an outlet in the laundry room. I also plugged my modem and computer charger into this outlet. So at least now I didn’t have any stress about work or my food going bad, but I could not run any fans in the room. Even with the exterior door and window open and a decent breeze, it was like a furnace in the office today and my computer kept shutting down for fear of overheating. It is amazing what a difference a mere ceiling fan can do when there’s cross-ventilation!

Thankfully, my landlady was checking messages. After she confirmed that I’d checked and reset breakers, she promised to send an electrician.

I worked as steadily as I could and at 3:30 she texted to say an electrician would be by at 4:00 if I still needed one. Yes! Power was sometimes coming back, but voltage was being very erratic. I managed to finish and send my job literally 30 seconds before the doorbell rang!

The electrician and his helper started at the fuse box where power comes into the property. Yes, fuse box.

I had suspected that my issue was with corrosion at the fuse box and it took two seconds to confirm that this was the case. The guys did what they could for me today by cleaning contacts and then the main electrician called the landlord to tell him that this thing needs to be pulled and replaced by a modern unit ASAP. He got permission to go quote the materials so I’m hopeful that this is going to happen!

I got the guys a cold drink, we chatted a bit about my long drive from Canada and why I can’t sell them my truck, and their delight at learning that I’d just adopted Bonita, meaning I’m here long-term/permanently, was so heartwarming — Mexicans are so welcoming.

They left and I pushed the fridge back to the kitchen. Whew! The change out out of the unit could happen tomorrow but would be more likely Thursday or Friday, which would suit my schedule better. Again, I hope this happens because the power here is a mess and based on their inspection of the electrical panels, everything can be traced back to the fuse box. I should see a lower voltage (better for my electronics) and fewer brownouts with a new panel.

So like my Monday, my Tuesday was much more eventful than expecting. Hopefully, tomorrow will be boring!

11 thoughts on “Building Codes Aren’t Bad Things

    • Based on the ads I see on my neighbourhood sites for used construction stuff, it must be common practice! I suspect there was another house on this site that got torn down and then hooked up to the existing panel…

  1. Strike Hold spray is like a miracle drug for electrical connections. I don’t know if you can get that there, though. My Mom kept a car battery going more than 15 years by regularly cleaning the corrosion off the terminals. She didn’t know those batteries are only supposed to last 5 years. She just thought the corrosion was ugly so she cleaned it off.

      • A mixture of baking soda and water applied with an old toothbrush does a good job as well and in a pinch you can simply pour a can of Club Soda over the terminals (rinsing well with fresh water after) will remove existing corrosion. Taking the wires and battery connectors off (one terminal at a time to avoid confusion) and giving everything a thin coat of dielectric grease (Canadian Tire sells it) will keep corrosion away.

  2. It’s scary that you have to say that, but there are people microwaving aluminium foil balls right now, so it’s good to CYA! 😉

    I am not going anywhere near that panel!

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