My daughter’s room’s florescent light fixture had a burnt fuse, busted light, or a wiring problem of some kind that had left some of the tubes unlit. My wife wanted to fix this problem immediately, while I was hoping to just call someone to fix it. I have an irrational fear of exposed electrical wiring because I know I don’t understand how it works, and I’m always afraid of accidental electrocution. Growing up in a 100+ year old house and seeing substandard wiring whenever we did home remodeling caused that fear.

The first person we called said  we should tell the services department of the apartment complex. There isn’t an on-call electrician that works in our apartment, which is atypical. We were going to need to fix this ourselves.

The first thing I did was walk to the local mega-mart to buy some replacement light fixtures in the hope that it was simply a set of bad tubes. One of our other lights had burnt out recently, and since that was the first set of lights we had replaced since we had moved into the apartment, perhaps it was just “time” to expect the lights to start burning out depending on their usage. We went about replacing the lights, but to our disappointment, it wasn’t a bad tube, but the wiring itself that was faulty.

My wife called a hardware store that said that if we brought in the fixture itself we could get it repaired by them immediately, which seemed like a sweet deal. To accomplish this, we had to flip the breakers in our apartment, which I had never done before. My wife had the repair person on the phone while she took out  the different wires that connected it to the power source because even though the power is disconnected I still feel like touching wires is like disarming a bomb.

I took the light fixture to their shop, and true to their word they did the required rewiring on the spot. The line between “hardware store” and “hoarder” is very narrow in Korea. The shop was covered in wires, tubes, and different hardware supplies, but when she tested the light in the shop it worked as advertised. She told me the rules for how to connected it back to our own wires, and we called to double check. My wife hooked it up, no problems, and we got the new tubes installed to have a bright light once again.

It took up a few hours, but it did get done, which is a relief. The installation and the new tubes cost about what the price of paying a repairmen over to fix it would have cost, but now we have spare lights if any of our other lights burn out. Other than my irrational fear of getting the wires crossed or starting a fire, it wasn’t that difficult either.