The lights had been flickering, ever so faintly, since the day I moved into my Burbank condo.
At first, I thought I might be imagining it. I couldn't see the flickering if I looked at the lights with intent. I only saw the flicker if I was thinking of something else, looking away.
But the exhaust fan in the downstairs bathroom didn't flicker—that was an audible surge. My ears were more reliable than my eyes.
Perhaps there is something wrong with the fan, I thought.
But I did nothing, because eventually I would just replace the fan. It's one of those cheap-ass loud fans people believe masks noises the human body makes in the bathroom. Sure it does, but only to the person in the bathroom, the person wishing to cling to this particular myth. I assure you, the person not in the bathroom is quite capable of distinguishing between cheap fan sounds and biological function sounds. Not because they want to.
But the flickering seemed to get worse, and once I realized the gurgling from the fridge wasn't actually from fridge at all, but from the nearby electrical box, and it wasn't gurgling but was actually crackling from a circuit, then I became nervous.
I texted the electrician who had installed my ceiling fan and wired in my upstairs ceiling lights, but he is "contractor ghosting" me now. I assume he's busy. That's not the worst, I suppose. His first work was vastly better than the second job he did for me. I wasn't sure I should bother calling him back anyway.
I looked up the recommended electrician on the HOA docs, called him during a break while I was wandering around Pasadena yesterday, and he said "I'll be there in an hour." I raced back to the #501 bus stop and hurried home. Ten minutes after my arrival, he showed up.
He showed me the corrosion on the line and tested the microwave circuit. The condo has a giant beast of a built-in microwave with exhaust fan over the stove. I hate it, because it has a sensor that turns the exhaust fan on whether I like it or not. This beast is the likely culprit, with an output of 14 amps on a 15 amp max circuit. I ran it while he tested, and the beast tipped just over the scale into 15 if I ran a few other things at the same time.
The electrician will come back and install a dedicated microwave circuit down the road, I think, or maybe I'll look for one that isn't a beast, but in the meantime, he swapped out the breaker.
I'm pretty happy with how this all turned out. Reasonable price, service in an hour, and careful explanation. I think I just switched electricians.