Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Electricity (The Rough In)

It is almost official.

We almost have legal electricity!

When we bought the house, very little of the light fixtures still had light bulbs and so there was little chance of us know what was working and what wasn't, but once we got around to really looking into the electrical system we realized just how big of a mess it really was.

It wasn't the old knob and tube wiring (let out a collective "whew") but it was still all canvas/fabric wrapped wire and the "breaker" box was a somewhat terrifying rendition of something Frankenstein would have used. At one point early on, we pulled every fuse from the box and somehow parts of the house were still live. That can be a little unnerving. Our HVAC installer gave himself a pretty good shock one day. Turns out, some of the wiring inside of the box had melted together. Yay.

We made due for awhile but once we we're past some necessary demolition it was time for an entirely new electrical system.

Our house is full of conduit. For a large expensive home in the 1930's I guess that wasn't all that uncommon. It's extremely uncommon now. No residential builder is putting conduit in anywhere. So, score one for us, erm I mean Six Twelve. We also decided to completely start fresh. Other than the existing service to the house, nothing about the electrical system is remaining.

The first thing our electrician did was to cut the existing power and to create a safe, temporary power source for us (and his crew) to use while working in the house. This little outlet has seen more action than any outlet in the entire house probably ever will.

Then his crew began pulling all the existing wire out of the conduit. They didn't expect this to go well and mentioned they were not going to break their backs over it. As it turned out, it all came out relatively easily. Boxes upon boxes of fabric wrapped wire were removed from the conduit. While this was going on, they uncovered 10 (T-E-N) covered sconce junction boxes between the living room and the dining room. The original owners of the house must have really liked sconces. That puts them in at a total of 14 for two rooms. Overkill.

We mentioned to the electrician that we were planning to drywall over the existing walls and they could remove the plaster and lathe necessary to do their work (as well as to meet inspection) and boy oh boy did they. I guess when you tell a guy, "have at it", you can't really be all that surprised when he does just that.

It was in their contract to broom clean the project at the end, but we were working in the house so much in the evenings it was just faster and safer if we kept up with the cleaning ourselves. Every Saturday morning since they'd been working at the house, we started by cleaning.

Also, this house had an absurd number of mismatched boxes/outlets. Some of them I have never even seen before. I can't even find them in Google Images, that is how unusual they were. We're talking at least four or five different types of outlet styles. Unfortunately, the previous owners of the home didn't leave any of what I really would have loved to keep (the old push buttons) but I really can't complain about something as silly as switches vs. push buttons.

The electricians are practically done for the rough-in inspection. That means that all new wiring has been run to the boxes where we will have outlets/switches/light fixtures. All can lights have been installed and are wired. The bath fans have been hooked up and all necessary prep for island power has been put into place above the ceiling and below the floor. Now we wait for the inspector to review (and approve) this bad boy.

Then I can finally write "Insulation Part 2" because I know you are all just anxiously awaiting the sequel.

No comments:

Post a Comment