Yesterday we were in the living room and the power just died. Now in a normal house built after 1940 or so the wiring would pretty much be 14 or 16 three conductor.
But no, this place was built in 1900. So at 117 years old it still has some reliquary electrical things. One of those is post and tube wiring. See, back in the day the separated the conductors out but inches not tightly bundled like today.
Well one of the tubes got a little wet. Long story. I went downstairs and powered the circuit back up and could see, hear and smell the arcing going on between the wire and the water pipe that ran directly beneath it. Yup – the water pipe is grounded and so the current was arcing into that and it tripped the breaker again.
So I cut the power to the entire house. We went out and about, did out weekly grocery shopping and then when I came back I pulled the wire down slightly and put in a vinyl glove to act as insulator.
Problem solved, it stopped the arcing and you could hear the wire sizzling. I’ll explain why that is. It had to drive the water out but that one circuit it runs everything in the living room and dining room. I suppose that shortly after 1900 they added power to the house post and tube was state of the art. Not so anymore.
And some genius ran a cold water pipe directly over the wire – and being cloth wrapped wire it didn’t help that water got in and that’s what caused the whole issue.
So now that it’s all set we’re good for the foreseeable future. That’s one thing about me, I know how to work with electricity. I always cut the power to the whole house. A bit safer that way when you’re mucking with wiring that’s near 100 years old. Just made a space between the wire and pipe and snuck the glove in there. Perfect.