Skip to content

Lights Out

I noticed yesterday evening that the light in the cloakroom in the extension wasn’t working – so my first thought was that the bulb had blown. That’s always particularly annoying in a bathroom, as the light fittings are totally enclosed in a globe-like shade, so I couldn’t easily even tell what sort of replacement bulb I needed. I dragged a chair into the bathroom to stand on while I unscrewed the shade. Hmmm – it was a bit dark in there, better turn on the lights in the hall so that I could see what I was doing. They didn’t work either – it clearly was a wider problem than just a blown bulb.

I checked the trip switches in the consumer unit in kitchen. All fine. The lights and oven etc were all working fine – it was just the extension that was affected. Then I remembered that the extension is not only on a different ring main to the rest of the house, for some obscure reason it also has its own separate consumer unit in the garage. So I checked that, with a torch because of course the lights were out. Odd – all of the trip switches were in the “on” position, but there was no power.

So then I investigated the main distribution board in the meter cupboard outside the back door. Which first meant finding the odd-shaped key to open it. I really don’t like fiddling around in there, particularly when there is driving rain, but needs must. I found a single RCD trip switch, labelled “garage”, which was off. Problem solved – flicking that back to “on” turned the power back on to the extension.

I really don’t know why the master switch tripped out in the meter cupboard, rather than just an RCD in the garage consumer unit protecting a single circuit. Nor have I found a blown bulb or fused appliance that might have caused the problem in the first place. For now I’ll just write it off as “one of those things” and be pleased that I managed to track down the problem and rectify it. If it keeps happening, I may have to call out an electrician to investigate the root cause,