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Air conditioner doubles as fire starter

Our air conditioner has died. Last time it died was in July/August of 2007 and the temperatures were so hot that the insurance company paid to house us in a hotel for the 9 days of the repair. This time the weather is bearable and the repair is quicker. However, this does not come without drama. While the repairman was checking on the outside unit, he asked me to throw the 30 amp breaker at the inside unit. When I did, the breaker box erupted in flame and threw a shower of sparks. This small breaker box (holds a 30 amp dual pole breaker and a 60 amp dual pole breaker) does not currently attach to our wall so I was holding it in my hands at the time. Very exciting!

Apparently the breaker did exactly what it is designed to do. After opening the box, not a wire was burned. No insulation melted. I just received a light show. I can imagine that if I were to dissect the breaker itself that the innards would be melted sludge.

So, the breaker kept the house safe. Now, the big lesson I learned: Don’t ever tell the wife there was a fire inside the house!

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