What can I say?

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I went to check out a reported faulty electric cooker hob on Tuesday morning by the daughter of a lady in whose house I had worked in February of this year. I was told by the daughter that she had been cleaning her mother’s hob and a fault had developed, there was a loud noise and smoke was seen coming from beneath the hob. I had offered to go there immediately but as it was late I was told that it could wait until the next day. I got there around nine o’clock and realised that I had installed the then new hob earlier in the year. The daughter had confessed to her mom that she had in fact caused the fault whilst she had been cleaning it, she had been heavy-handed with the water which had found its way inside the hob. My task was to trace the problem and hopefully effect a repair though I no longer carry out such repairs in a professional capacity and haven’t done so for many years. I had to remove the unit, turn it upside down and remove the metal cover to expose the electrical connections but a visual inspection revealed nothing. Using a test instrument revealed that the fault lay inside one of the four simmerstats controlling the heating plates. It would need replacing but as it was an unusual piece of equipment finding a replacement would prove difficult. A repair specialist would probably have one in their stock. I was thinking at the time why they hadn’t simply called a specialist in the first place. All I could do was isolate the faulty part to leave the other three plates working. That meant my part in the procedure was ended. I have to limit what I will do when people ask me to fix things as I am not geared-up to do all types of work and most other electricians aren’t either. We have to specialise because we cannot carry around a large stock of parts whereas a  repair specialist would. The lady of the house had just returned home from a spell in hospital after knee replacement surgery and her daughter had been paying her a visit for a week or so. Her daughter actually lives in the Channel Islands. During my time there I got the impression that the mother was suffering with her memory, perhaps the early onset of dementia. On my previous visit some eight months ago I had discovered that half of the house electrical wiring was in need of rewiring and in fact the electric hob circuit was also in need of a rewire. There had been an extension to the property some years ago which had been wired as new and is therefore not in need of a rewire. The strange thing is that the built-in oven and grill unit was part of that new installation yet the hob sitting next to it had been left connected to the old rubber-covered wiring. I remember reporting all of my findings to the lady and giving her the name of another electrician to look at the possibility of a complete rewire. Nothing had been done. What can I say?

Shirley Anne

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