Saturday, April 28, 2012

Electrical Nightmares!

Ok so it's not electrical. Jack had used this sign to line part of the utility closet as "fireproofing" for the wood stove he had installed in there. Road sign as building material? Wood stove in a closet? These are the work of Jack, the last long term resident here. I need to write another blog entry just about Jack. His handiwork is everywhere. When he needed to fix or amend anything he made do with materials, tools and knowledge that he had on hand. All of his work is functional but all highly irregular and in the case of his electrical work, dangerous! So it's all coming out. We're ripping out all of jack's electrical and rewiring the whole house. It's a much bigger project than we thought we'd be tackling this year but it has to be done and we're blessed to have our awesome friend Joel helping us navigate the whole process.

This is right inside the utility closet in the hallway. That "outlet" in the middle is wired to the subpanel and it's just hanging there. It's labeled "KIT." The cord plugged into that outlet goes up the wall, down the length of the utility closet and through the wall to something in the kitchen that I haven't discovered yet. The off-white box is a junction box for the old phone line which goes out to the eve and then wraps around the house in a strange long path that doesnt make any sense.  I ripped all of that out :)

This shiny subpanel box came with the house. The renters that lived here after Jack knew a thing or two and tried to fix things up. You can see the mix of new and old, crusty, scary wiring. Somethings about this new panel were done right and some not. Ultimately we decided that we needed a panel with more breaker slots. This one only has 12 so we ordered the next size up that takes 20.

New wiring in the washroom.

Recently I've spent most of my time up in the attic. As attics go, it's not too shabby with a nice wide rat-run down the whole length of the house. This is taken from above the extra rooms looking back towards the main part of the house. The square hole is an opening to the attic space of the original house. Having all of the insulation removed was really key to making the attic workable. 

 Fancy new ceiling fan mount and new wiring. woo!

 Here's another great example of Jack's work. The thick black wire and the metal junction box are most likely from the original construction in 1942. Over the years Jack made so many little modifications that most them are like little puzzles to unravel and then remove. From the metal junction box there are three more runs to other parts of the house. This work is comparatively really good as he actually used twist caps on the wires. Bare twisted wire is sadly a common sight in other parts of the house.

 Another attic shot. This time from above the living room at the opposite end of the house. The light in the middle of the photo is right next to the square opening in the previous attic picture. The yellow light (lower middle) is coming up from the utility closet which has no ceiling right now. 


More of Jack's work. This run starts at the subpanel in the utility closet in the middle of the house and runs all the way to the chimney (here) where it connects with two other runs, one which was cut and coiled up and another which ran all the way back to a light bulb above the utility closet.

This is Joel. He is awesome. We are blessed. 

This may not seem like much but I'm quite excited about it. It's the new phone line that we ran from the new AT&T box on the side of the house. Right now it ends at phone jack box on the floor. Eventually I want to wire the whole house with ethernet and bring the runs back to the utility closet for networking. For now this new line means I'm one step closer to being able to hang out on the farm and still work my day job (DSL required).

 Round 1 of house wiring was dedicated to new hardwired smoke detectors in every room. Here's the open ceiling of the utility closet. The smoke detector will go in one can and the new light will go into the other.

 This is the ceiling of the wood-paneled bedroom with it's newly installed smoke detector wiring and receptacle. Next will be replacing the main panel on the outside of the house. More to come next week!

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