Friday, October 13, 2006

Simple? Not!

Like most houses in Mexico the electrical breaker box for our house is in an inappropriate least from as aesthetic point of view. It was on a wall of the kitchen but I've also seen them on the wall of the sala......and usually it isn't tucked into an inconspicuous spot. Nope right in the center of the wall.

In our kitchen the bottom of the box was a scant 18" above the counter top. I figured that I could hide it with the microwave on a shelf above the counter but just one problem. The wall cabinets and the shelf should all be at the same height and that is usually at 18" above the counter top in the States. So that would mean that once the shelf went in we couldn't take the cover off of the breaker box. You may be wondering why I'd worry. How many times have you had to take the cover off of your breaker box? Never. Well for some reason here in Mexico it seems to happen....maybe not often but definitely occasionally.

Somehow, I thought that moving the breaker box up 3" would not be a problem. Oh, silly me. On Wednesday morning the electrician came to move the box and a couple of connections. When he left, everything seemed to be fine. The computers and lights all came back on in the front side of the house. About 5:00 PM Ned tried to turn on a light in the bedroom side of the house. No electricity. The refrigerator, not running. He checked the breaker box. Everything looked okay.

The electrician came back. The architect came back. They worked on the problem until 10:00 PM. We could get a low level of electricity in our bedroom so we were not stumbling in the dark but that was it. We called it quits for the night. Yesterday morning everyone was back to work on the problem. All electricity to the house was shut off. About noon the electrician went to get a friend to come and help him. Finally around 5:00 PM, success. We have everything operational again. I don't think we totally understand what the problem was but what is important is that we have electricity.

I thought that the move would be simple. Ha! Even the simple things become an adventure in Mexico.


Brenda said...

So true. Last winter the landlord had an electrician here to add an extra breaker to the downstairs box for a couple of exterior lights that were already wired in; but not working yet. He got the new breaker all done, fairly quickly; but no power. They then decided that there must be a problem with the existing wiring for the lights. Of course this wiring ran under the concrete of our floor by the door and hallway. Luis had just finished tiling the steps and under the door 2 days before this. Luis was called over with his hammer and chisel and proceeded to break up the tiles and concrete through our doorway that he had just completed. Time passed, with the electrician and Ciro visiting and Luis sweating and hammering. He finally found the wire under the concrete and sure enough when the men had done the concrete for the floor they had crimped/damaged the wire for the lights. Digging around in the tiny hole the electrician repaired the damage and eureka the lights worked. Luis then had to fill in the concrete hole and re-tile the floor. Nothing is ever simple down here. The water pipes are also concreted into the walls. Last winter shortly after we moved in we noticed the paint had begun peeling off the walls in certain places. Showed Ciro and he thought it was just from the condensation from the pipes in the walls. Don't worry about it. After we returned to Canada, they decided to investigate it as it got much worse I guess. Long and short of it was that whoever did the work had gotten a fair number of little holes into the water pipes and they were leaking into all the walls. Kitchen, hallway, and bathroom walls had to be dug out, pipes replaced, wall re-done and painted. A major job and a big mess!! They were very disgusted to say the least.

La Gringa said...

We have the same thing here in Honduras with the placement of the breaker boxes. I remember one brand new expensive home that had it on the wall of the sala principal, and not in a place that you could have hung a picture over it. Most homes have them on the kitchen walls.

We built, so luckily we could put ours wherever we wanted (in the garage).

I guess it just isn't something that the electricians even think about.