Saturday, July 22, 2017

it's all about the power

Last night, around 2AM, my circuit breaker fritzed out on me again, as it did almost exactly a year ago. I schlepped downstairs to the lobby concierge and explained the problem; he phoned an on-call repairman, who showed up within twenty minutes. The repairman quickly determined that there was a small water leak causing water to drip slowly onto the main-switch part of the circuit breaker. He asked me whether I'd had trouble with the circuit breaker before; I told him about last year, so like last time, water leakage was again a problem. The repairman told me he was going to pull the circuit breaker out of its mounting and bring it forward to keep it away from the leaking water. Meanwhile, since something needed to be done about the leak, he said someone would come back to my place on Saturday afternoon.

That guy arrived around 1:30PM. He'd already been informed about the leakage, so he popped open a ceiling panel to look around the narrow crawlspace. His purpose was to check whether the leak was coming from upstairs. His initial check didn't reveal the leak's source, so he moved into my bathroom to check again (my bathroom also has a ceiling panel giving access to the crawlspace). This time, he found something: my air conditioner was leaking water across my ceiling and all the way over to the circuit breaker, which is mounted near my apartment's door. That's a distance of about four meters—a long way for water to crawl. I can only surmise that, when my A/C was originally installed, someone did a shitty job of installation.

And this is where things got complicated. Because this is fundamentally an A/C problem, we had to call the Carrier A/C service center to schedule another repairman to come out and fix the leak. My current repairman spoke with the customer-service rep, then the phone got passed to me, and I spoke with the CSR, who told me they'd be sending someone out to my place in a few days. I advised her not to phone me because I tend not to answer phone calls from unfamiliar numbers, but that text messages would be fine. The repairman gave me some more phone numbers so that I could call for someone to complete the circuit-breaker repairs after the Carrier people had come and gone.

I'm not sure how clear all that is, so let me lay out the chronology in list form:

1. I'm to wait for the Carrier people to come out and repair the A/C's leak. A person or team will be at my place in three to five days.
2. Once Carrier has come and gone, I'm to call my building's repairmen to come and complete the repair of my circuit breaker, which is currently hanging out of the wall while water continues to drip inside the wall.

It's a complicated dance for what seems a straightforward problem, but because the A/C is a Carrier-brand piece of equipment, we have no choice but to involve Carrier in the repairs. Otherwise, there'd be no one but in-house repairmen on the case. For now, I've got power, and that's what matters. The food in my fridge is safe, and I can use the leaky A/C to keep myself alive and sane in this oppressive heat and humidity. In a few days, both the A/C and the circuit breaker ought to be repaired. It'd be nice to get through at least one summer in this apartment building without any circuit-breaker-related problems. The most annoying aspect of last night's fritz is that I had been planning to go see a matinee showing of "Dunkirk" today, but because I had to stay put to wait for the repairman, that wasn't possible. Tomorrow, then.

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