Sunday, August 28, 2016


This past week I noticed that the night light in the convenience half-bath downstairs was out. Hmm, I thought to myself, time to change that bulb.
Of course, I didn't get around to it right away, but the next day I was going to dry my hair and the hair dryer remained silent. Then I noticed that the little light on the electric toothbrush charger was out.

I plugged the hair dryer into the outlet by the second sink.  Nothing.  I took it downstairs and again, nothing.  Every other plug and switch seemed to be working.  What other explanation could there be?  The bathroom wiring was shot, the wires were frayed and disintegrating, about to cause a major fire.

Have I ever mentioned the fact that I have an irrational fear of electricity?  I swear I was killed by lightning in a previous life.

After several minutes of panic, I thought to check the circuit breaker box. Everything looked okay. I saw the new outlets in the kitchen which all had GFCI buttons.  The bathroom outlets had not been updated but I figured there must be
a GFCI for them somewhere.  I looked in the circuit breaker box again and found a switch marked GFCI.  I summoned all my courage and poked at that switch (very tentatively, I am sure, because of that irrational fear of electricity).  Nothing happened.

I returned to my theory about a life destroying fire about to burst through the bathroom walls.  I called an electrician in a state of panic.  He came right away.

He was here for maybe twenty minutes in total.  He showed how to operate a circuit breaker switch -- you have to turn it to off and then on.  I paid him $140 and went to dry my hair.

Lesson learned.  Expensive lesson, but learned.


  1. Oh, gosh! I think I've done this, too. Not paid someone, but flicked the circuit breaker. Sigh.

  2. Hmmmm! I had one trip in the new entrance I had installed. I knew which breaker it had to be but at first examination the breaker did not appear to be tripped. The breaker handle is supposed to move to a center position when tripped. So then I thought oh, the GFCI, but just to be on the safe side I flipped the breaker off and then back on. Ahaaa! Even though the breaker did not visually appear to be tripped, I could tell when I touched it that it was.

    Sorry you had to pay $140 that seems kind of steep for resetting a breaker.

  3. Wow! That was expensive and think you might want to consider checking with a different electrician next time -- get more than one qote 'cause seems definitely on the high side, even if he checked all the circit breakers and educated you. Need a break down on charges -- service call, time and hourly rate (probably only an hour for that job with time left over), cost of new circuit breaker, labor which is simply pulling one out and pushing new one in. He could have easily cleaned breaker box, too.

    I just had a wall socket which was also controlled by a wall switch in my living room which ceased functioning. Electrician fixed and converted the regular socket to a 3 prong and installed new wall switch. I, too, was perplexed and concerned about older wiring safety in house. I checked circuit breakers -- all older, too -- and they appeared okay,, so can imagine how you may have felt. Everything working fine now and glad same is true for you.

  4. wow I'm so sorry. I learned about the circuit breaker panel when I was very young. MY irrational fear is going over very high bridges or freeway over-passes. I'm sure I've fallen to death in a previous life. (hate roller coasters too, but not flying.) :)

  5. My irrational fear is driving which is even more limiting, I'm afraid. I'm glad your electrician could show you what to do next time.

  6. Expensive but now you have peace of mind and you know what to do the next time it happens.

  7. Sometimes advice like that is priceless. I am also very much afraid of electricity and never know how to handle a fuse box etc. I probably written down every word of instruction the electrician gave me and placed the note by the fuse box because if I needed the information again, I would never trust my memory.

  8. My grandpa was an elecritician back a century ago so no fear but a lot of respect was taught. I am even more fascinated at how all the wireless stuff works around us.
    Hair dryers are no longer a thing I care for. I'm happy for you that all ended well.

  9. I think fear of electricities risks can be healthy if it makes us cautious of what we do with it. Very admirable, what you did retiring that lamp. YouTube is a wonderful helper educating us. We can undertake tasks we might once never have considered doing.

  10. It was an expensive lesson to learn for sure, but I can understand why you would call a professional to check it out. You were not sure what to do and he is trained to handle all things electricity. I would probably call an electrician myself if I were in your shoes. The important thing is everything turned out to be okay, and now you know how to operate the circuit breaker switch.

  11. I had a similar experience - cost $75, for 5 minutes call.

    Problem: moisture had gone into the external socket and hence it didn't work, and it kept on tripping the GFCI breaker. Like you, I touched it gingerly (several times, on and off, but to no effect because of the moisture in socket).

    Reason for moisture: heavy rain for several days. Mind you, been in this house 12+ years and its NEVER happened before despite much heavier and prolonged rainfall. Trawled the internet later and discovered that if its rainy weather, moisture is the first suspect. Just wait for sun to come out, and it'll dry.



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