Thursday, October 19, 2006

A Dust Explosion

No, I'm not going to talk about my terrible housekeeping skills. Did you know that horse barns are considered an explosion risk because of dust? Neither did I, or didn't until our electrician recently failed to get our electrical inspection passed. The items listed all required that every box, switches, and outlets be dust proof.

Now, I will say that the barn, being open and free of knicknacks, kids shoes and toys on the floor (no, I take that back, Wm already has a few of his tractors and cars in the aisleway), and floorboards, is in general cleaner than most houses. And yes, we'll be using shavings to bed the stalls, but not sawdust as in a lumber mill. I will not be storing vast quantities of grain as in a granary. The electrical inspector insists, however, that someday, some dusty horse owner may own the barn if I sell it.

So it is with some great frustration that I see all the outlets and switches covered with plastic boxes that will crack off like a dry twig the first time my girls go to turn on the lights. This will keep my new barn from burning down? I have to laugh because many barns that I visit have not only no dust covers, but exposed coated wire or open boxes. In fact, my old barn was wired from my house, and every time I turned on the microwave and the electric skillet at the same time, the breaker would trip. We found out that was because the barn fans, lights and heaters were also running on the same circuit. At least we've made some improvement!

George, the 90 year old father of the electrician, stood in my barn with the caulk gun, dribbling caulk all over like an old man eating cereal with milk running down his chin. The white special caulk was supposed to be used to dust proof the boxes that were in the barn. It looks like some giant bird has pooped all over our barn. I was devastated. Dh said it was like having a new pair of white tennis shoes that someone stopped all over and got dirty the first day. But, they insisted that they had to use this butyl rubber caulk.

Just now, I spoke with the inspector who told me that clear silicone caulk was okay, so I guess I'll be scraping and recaulking the worst of it. If you want to reach me, I'll be in the barn.


pita-woman said...

I have heard of the dust explosions as they made us take a fire-safety course here.
But I got a big chuckle from the image of the old man w/his caulk compared to one eating his cereal.

Becky said...

I wish I could stop by before you get all the big bird poop scraped up!!!!! Seriously, I'll stop by sometime and see this new barn. We've been re-vamping our old tobacco barn and turning it into a horse barn (the guys have done most of the work!), and that's been a fun and satisfying project. Hay loft's almost done!
Btw, do you need any more square bales?


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