Flip-Flop Breaker

One of my jackass roommates decided he just *HAD* to have an AC of his own and that he just *HAD* to get one that pulled 10,000 BTU. Obviously overkill and obviously a much larger power drain. No problem though, right?

Wrong. The house is somewhere in the area of 40-45 years old. When they wired it up, we didn't have a lot of the electronic coolness we have now, including a lack of portable AC units. So maybe they figured it was a cheap solution when they hooked everything up. Here's the problem: One outlet in the kitchen, both of my outlets, both outlets in the master bedroom, both outlets in the back bedroom, both bathrooms, and one outlet in the living room are all on one circuit.

40 years ago this wouldn't have caused anyone a problem. Today it does. Put a bunch of computers, two AC units, and other miscellaneous electronics on this one mega-circuit and the result is a breaker switch that flip-flops more than John Kerry in an election. Even after we replaced the 15 amp switch with a 20 amp switch. My AC draws 8-9 amps, his draws somewhere close to 10 amps. That doesn't leave much left over for power hungry PCs.

Further complicating things is the fact that the bastard thinks he's got exclusive control of the circuit and has been making demands that I not run my AC when he's home because "it's hot" in his room. Well no shit Sherlock, that's why I bought mine fully 2 weeks before! And excuse me but we both occupy the house at exactly the same time frame the AC is most useful - between 3pm and 9pm. "Cooperating" by letting him cool his room down means I have to shut mine off and let my room heat up. That's not cooperation, that's subjugation. Childish as it may sound, I was here first and I have spent considerably more on making this whole project viable. I think I have the right to expect to be able to use the damn thing when I need it.

So because he's such a selfish pig bastard the rest of us are now in a position to need to do something about the overloaded circuit. I've been poking around looking for an electrician that's available for the job of running a new electrical line and breaker switch from the main box in the back yard. One of the other roommates is doing the same, but I'm not willing to wait for him to come up with something while it gets debated in committee with the other occupants. So it looks like I'm going to end up having to fork over even more money. Probably somewhere in the neighborhood of at least $500 more.

Of course, the proper solution would be to install central air but since the idiots won't use the AC in the front room I have no reason to expect they'd turn the central air on when it's hot either.
"It is pointless to resist, my son." -- Darth Vader
"Resistance is futile." -- The Borg
"Mother's coming for me in the dragon ships. I don't like these itchy clothes, but I have to wear them or it frightens the fish." -- Thurindil

Well. I guess that's that then.

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Posted on Jul 27, 2007 8:43 am by Samson in: | 15 comment(s) [Closed]
Well, your closing statement disqualifies my first thought, that at this rate it'd be cheaper for you and the roommate in question to return your portable units and split the cost of central a/c.. course, even with central you can get into fights with everyone in the house involved over where the thermostat should be set since everyone gets subjected to it.. and if the house has never had central a/c, you're also talking about running duct works to every room, that could become quite a construction project and rather expensive, and despite best intentions, central a/c does not heat/cool the entire house evenly, I know this from years of experience in many different houses that were centrally heated/cooled. G'luck with whatever you end up doing.

Get your own apartment. Problem solved.

I'm here all week. Try the fish.

Brilliant idea! I'll just go out and get the $1800/mo that will cost.... oh... wait. I don't make that much. Problem not solved. You lose, care to play again?

Find a cheaper apartment. This life of style you live is keeping you repressed! Free yourself!

I'll take your car if you need to be liberated from that as well.

Uh, no. There will be no liberating the car. I need that to continue my slave existence. And if you can find a cheap apartment that's not in a neighborhood full of illegals and is less than 10 miles from work you'd be capable of miracles. In which case I'd have already asked you to bless me with the next batch of winning lotto numbers.

You can't have those - they're mine.

Sorry for the late response, Samson, but regarding that $1800/month, there was mention just recently in another blog on this site of the notion of you finding a better job, perhaps it's not as unreasonable a solution as you're thinking. :P

So I finally got to talk to the electrician for myself. Seems he had been given the impression he was going to come out and drop 3 new circuits and several new plugs. To that I say, nice try assholes.

Once I explained to him that I'm paying for this and only want one new breaker and circuit installed for my AC, I got a much more reasonable estimate of $695 instead of the outrageous $4500 he thought he was going to be getting. Uh huh. Like I would ever fork over that kind of money for anything other than a car or house.

Ouch, $700 to add a circuit with one outlet?? Yeah, it's a whole world better than $4500 but.. ouch. *shaking his head*

We aren't all blessed with dirt cheap rent, cars, supplies, and labor out here. If I had a job making as much as I do now, living where you live, I'd be set for life.

One must also consider the labor costs and the fact that he knows what he's doing and I don't. I'd prefer not to set fire to the house I live in.

The cost of living here is _much_ better than there, so, yes, without a doubt you'd be set if you had the same paycheck but lived here instead. But it's still a lot of money...

Well, if you managed to set fire to the house you live in, and could show that it was accidental and thus not arson, it'd be a good excuse to find that better residence Whir was talking about. ;)

Right up until we realize that I wouldn't see a dime on the insurance payout for my losses. It would be awfully hard to justify replacing 3 PCs, an AC and various other electronics if I have no home and can't afford to get one.

I suppose it would seem a bit suspicious if you took the precaution of removing everything of value from the house before you accidentally set it on fire...

$815 later and a shiny new dedicated circuit is installed and working beautifully. Sucks to be the roommate though who is still blowing the circuit despite my AC no longer being on that line now. Guess he's going to have to pony up now.

Ouch, that's a lot of money, but it sounds like the price got you the last laugh on the roommate at least. :)
Sounds like you could always get another laugh by pointing out that if the circuit's still having problems with his a/c then obviously his a/c unit is drawing more power than the house's circuit were meant to deliver, so he obviously got too large a a/c unit for his needs. ;)

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