Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Fire alarm

Yesterday I came in from an exciting trip to the garage to find the house was filled with the smell of burning plastic.


In these situations, I always panic about the source of the problem. Did I leave a giant plastic storage tub on the stove again? (don't ask.) Is it wafting over from somebody else's house under construction? Might there be a sudden problem with the wiring?

No smoke, no fire, no clue.

I raced around the house opening the windows, sniffing carefully in every room, unsure where the smell was worst. But pretty soon I'd narrowed it down to the ceiling fixture in my office, huzzah. A minor evacuation (hard drive, camera, knitting in progress) ensued, and then I tried to figure out which breaker sends power to that particular light.

It was while I was racing up and downstairs from the fuse box to see whether the secondary light in that room had gone out yet that I thought to turn on the ceiling light again and hope that the power had been cut.

It hadn't. And that is how I discovered one of the high-efficiency bulbs in it had burned out.

These bulbs have a peculiar habit if they burn out and get left in the fixture, even for a few seconds.

You may not be able to make out the little grey oval patch of melted plastic on the left there, but you can probably see the blackened bottoms of the tubes. Smells like the dickens and can't be very wholesome for your lungs, to say nothing of the hours (14 and counting) it takes to get the smell out of the house - if, like me, you forget what the problem is from the last time and take an extra fifteen minutes to get it out.

Yep, this has happened to me before. Just once, but it should have been enough!

Goes against my grain to waste energy, but I'm thinking it's time to switch back to the old style bulb for a while... or at least a different brand of this kind.

No comments: