Rewind to yesterday at 2.30pm when the electrician arrived to find our daunted hero eagerly greeting him at the door. Never a good sign for service professionals I am guessing.
We chat about the issue and I run down the laundry list of troubleshooting steps I had already taken. To my credit, he seemed fairly impressed with my troubleshooting kung-fu; so I got to keep a small amount of dignity at least.
I let him get to work checking the circuit for continuity, etc. and mosey on back to my office to keep an eye on work. As the electrician moves about the house, we continue to chat and talk through the problem.
Let me note here that since Saturday, I had had nightmares (waking and sleeping) of a whole house re-wire project being necessary. That is $25k I just don’t need to spend right now…
Approximately an hour into the diagnostics, he still hasn’t found the break, but it is obvious there is one somewhere in the line. At this point I remind him that the plug next to the fireplace is dead as well which is odd since it is the only outlet downstairs which is displaying an issue. This oddity has been bugging me since Saturday when we encountered the problem, and my gut keeps telling me that is where the solution is also. The electrician agrees and we check out the receptacle, which looks perfectly stellar.
Of course at this point he asks me about the wall-plate switch next to the fireplace, wondering what it controls… “Oh”, I say… “that is presumably for the non-existant fan motor in the fireplace which was removed sometime long ago prior to us moving in.”
And that, my friends, is where things got better. I recalled opening up the grill to allow the removal 3 very long dead squirrels and had seen 4 uncapped wires protruding from the side wall. I thought nothing of them since they had obviously been like that for a decade or more. Unfortunately, it seems I must have bumped them during the removal of dead squirrels.
The ONE thing I completely forgot about and never checked resulted in a slightly expensive lesson learned. The exposed leads were capped in the fireplace, the breaker flipped, and it stuck. Problem Solved! Power is back to the upstairs and most importantly, my home office.
The good news from all of this is that the $180 for the diagnostic was easily and immediately applied to the installation of a whole-house surge suppressor which was also installed yesterday. So while it was indeed an expensive lesson, I still came out okay with additional protection for my home electronics and home office setup.
Whew. The future looks a bit brighter once again.