Glad I was home
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Jul22-08, 05:59 PM
This afternoon, I was in the kitchen cleaning blueberries when the air conditioner and refrigerator both quit at once. I checked the breakers, and couldn't find a tripped one, nor would those appliances power up. I got out my DMM and checked outlets - there was power to every outlet in the kitchen except the outlet feeding those two appliances. Then I started to check the outlet over the kitchen stove and sparks and flames shot out of the outlet. I only had gotten one probe into the neutral slot - I hadn't probed the hot slot yet. I ran out to the panel, shut off the breakers to the kitchen outlets, grabbed a screwdriver and took off the trim plate only to see a very badly burned outlet-box with scorched, damaged wires. This was a problem more complex than a simple outlet replacement, so I called my electrician brother-in-law and he came right over and helped me sort out the problem. If I hadn't been home AND paying attention to details, the place could have burned down. As it is, we have a little burned wallpaper and an increased wariness about poor connections in our outlets. I'm going to have to check the connections at our outlets for integrity.
Whew, that could have been really bad - good thing you caught it. Check your smoke alarms!