Thursday, April 28, 2011

Why Does Uh-Oh Spell Cha-Ching??

Recall the recent picture of my new pantry?  

You may have wisely noticed that it appeared pretty dark inside of the pantry.  We noticed, so off I went to Lowe's with a gift card from my birthday.  Soon I was the owner of a set of six can lights.  (Nope, haven't lost what's left of my mind, but it was cheaper to buy 6 in a contractor's box and split their use.  The other four are going in my hallway, while two will reside in my pantry.)

So, I, yes me, so proud of myself, carefully cut the two holes in the ceiling in preparation for installing the lights.  Then we headed to the breaker box to check out where to hook the new lights on. 

That's where the issues began.  My box is a Federal Pacific box that when first glanced at appears fine and full of breakers, no room for more.  

That was headache number one, but there was a chance that we could switch out some of the smaller breakers for larger ones, at least that's what I think was going to happen. (Disclaimer:  I am being watched by someone who is VERY adept at electricity and has previously wired entire apartment buildings, homes, offices and other buildings, so you don't need to panic that I'm going to burn myself down.)  Back to the search for replacement breakers.  No luck at the local big box stores, so I googled Federal Pacific Breaker Box to buy them online and up popped this:

Yikes!  This is most definitely not good.  After doing a little more research, it seems that the breakers fail to stop the flow of electricity when flipped to the off position.  This is not bueno.   

The problem is so large that the company had massive recalls and banks have been known to turn down homes because they have Federal Pacific breaker boxes.  (I am blessed that no one looked that closely...)  Federal Pacific Electric Company is now out of business and while you can find old breakers that have been tested, I'm not impressed.  So, off to my GC I went in a panic.  (I love my logic here, like somehow I can't sleep because now I know about exact same breaker box that was in my house last night when I slept fine, but it was still my logic.)

My sweet GC, Jack, gave me the name of a local electrician that I am having a bid run with.  It's going to be interesting to say the least.  My exterior box, nope, no clue exactly what I'm talking about, has 140 amps running thought it now, which would be fine except for the fact that it's a 100 amp box.  Technically 180, but odds are good that I won't run the furnace and the a/c at the exact same time.  The line from the box goes up the inside wall and over a stud in the top, which has been known to cause local fires.  GREAT...  As my electrician tells me each of these little facts, I doubt to scare me, we were having a conversation about remodeling and the perils, I see the dollar sides adding up and up.  

Thankfully I have a tax return this year because I'm pretty certain it has been spent in full! 

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