Sunday, November 12, 2017

RV Electrical Fire: We are very lucky

Our first morning in Oklahoma City we woke up to a crackling sound. Like paper burning.  Or twigs on a campfire.  Or maybe even one of our dogs chewing on plastic, which was Jim's first thought.
We looked around. The microwave clock was working but two appliances plugged into outlets were off. Then we smelled burning plastic. 

Jim immediately disconnected our rig from the electricity. The smell seemed to be coming from a cabinet next to our microwave. We couldn't find anything -- but something was obviously very wrong.

We got names/numbers of two mobile RV repair services from the campground and two other mobile services from the internet.  Jim called all four and left messages. John Wood of Big John's Mobile RV Service called back first and came out that afternoon. (Two of the companies never bothered to call back.)

John immediately saw a melted outlet -- one that we never use and hadn't even checked -- on the underside of the microwave cabinet. He said the best case scenerio would be localized damage.  If not, the walls of the RV might have to be torn apart to get at the damaged wiring. That would be a big job that would require moving out of the rig. 
John took the screws out of the the microwave, pulled it out of the wall, and found the burned wires. The damage had not traveled far up the line. John clipped off the burnt part, replaced the wires, rewired it back together, and replaced the outlet.  It took close to three hours and he only charged us $150.  We thought that was a deal, especially after the $500 refrigerator repair job in Independence, Missouri, last week.

So how did it happen? John said a melted outlet and burned wires like we had are usually caused by water damage.  But that wasn't the case with us. Maybe steam from the nearby cooktop?  More likely with all the bouncing around RVs do on the road, the wires had rubbed together until the coating came off. 

We are so lucky. The fire could have started while we were plugged into electric but away from the rig.  Worse yet, it could have started while Jim and I were away and had left the dogs behind. Or we could have all been asleep -- hopefully our fire alarm would have gone off, but by then there might have been a big blaze. 

If you are ever in the Oklahoma City area and need an RV repair, we'd recommend John Wood.  His phone number is 405-921-0024.
John Wood of Big John's Mobile RV Service.  The burned wires were in the empty microwave cabinet above his head.  
Our seriously charred outlet. None of our circuit breakers flipped, which is very odd.


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