A warning to sons and daughters who feel obligated to help their mothers with DIY tasks:
Since my father passed away some years ago I have been called upon to fill his DIY shoes (and for a fairly compact guy he did have BIG shoes…) Of course I try my best but I must confess to being a little slapdash, usually starting well and then getting frustrated towards the end. Anyway… A recent encounter with Ikea produced some self-assembly kitchen cabinets, blinds, shelves and a cooker hood… Crack the knuckles, don the tool belt and let slip the dogs of DIY…
New kitchen blind installed, no problem. Keeping pace with my wife who has built the new kitchen cabinet. Ready for the door to be put on. Bit of fiddling, head-scratching and the typical “There’s stuff missing” Ikea rant when my wife points out that the door hinges are screwless and simply attach to the door…<cough>… Right, ok well that’s good isn’t it, what a great idea! <grumble> (Choking a little on the bitter taste of humble pie)
So to the next phase, putting a new shelf up. One of those thick ones where you can’t see the brackets. Easy… Tool box open, out comes the voltage/metal detector and scan the wall… No problem there… Hold up the metal bracket and mark the position with a pencil… All quite normal… Ready to drill… Old Black & Decker mains drill… First 3 holes go in fine… Lining up for number 4… Too easy, I wonder what’s for lunch… <BOOM!> Flash, black smoke, bit melted, drill blackened. Blinking in a daze looking at the wall and the perfectly round black hole in the wall with smoke curling up from it!
Ok, right, well still alive so that’s good. Assess the damage. Power to the utility room and garage gone, everything else still fine. Fuse box uses wire not breakers so it all got nicely juiced up! So, freezer, fridge, washing machine, dish washer and tumble drier out of action but worst of all heating off! Now my mum, like many of her contemporaries, likes the heat set to tropical so no boiler is a no-no. After a period of flapping and pacing I set to with the hammer and chisel to chase out the wall and find the break. Easy to locate I had drilled straight through the plastic trunking and into the twin and earth! Millimeter perfect the hole, right in the centre of the wire! So, that’s patched up and all power back on, fhew…
Of course if I had moved the cabinet under the work stop I would have seen the socket directly in line with where I wanted to drill! Moral of the story: Don’t always trust voltage testers and make sure you check the wall from the skirting to the ceiling just to make sure a socket is not in line!