Thursday, April 07, 2011

More Progress

I spent the day crawling around in the attic prying up the floor boards so I could chace down the wires coming out of the kitchen ceiling light fixture. My God! That fixture was the O'Hare of the electrical world in the old portion of the Bolt Hole. Every single circuit seems to have run through that one fixture. Somewhere between 18 and 20 outlets and lights were on that one wire going down to the board in the basement. On a 25 AMP breaker. Water and ice got to the light switch in the wood shed and shorted things out. Wires melted but the plastic tape and wire nuts kept it under control--or so the electrician told Mark when he took a look at the mess. He's also the one that said the canvas coated aluminum wire had to go ASAP. As I've said before, it's a miracle the place hasn't burned down.

I succeeded in finding the paths all the wires took and even located the junction box in the kids' bedroom where the old aluminum, canvas covered wire met with the new 12-2 grounded wire. (I only had to tear out three tongue and groove siding boards over the door to do so. Won't look as pretty when they go back up, but--hey!--this is the Good Enuff Construction project!)

I was disappointed on the other end of the house. The wire that takes power to the upstairs bedroom runs up and out of sight between the ceiling rafters. To find that junction box will require some cutting into the sheetrock--and a lot of luck.

When Mark got back from work, I showed him what I had found and we started talking about how to rewire the bathroom, storage room, (both of which also came off the kitchen light!), kitchen, and the kids bedroom. Oh, yeah and the woodshed and front porch, too. Four short little circuits will do the job and I should be able to do it all on Friday before I head back to the Aerie.

The upstairs bedroom will be another kettle of fish. I'm going to put a mark on the ceiling where I think the junction box is located and leave the task of breaking into the sheetrock for Mark to try this weekend. With lots of luck, the box will be pretty close to the place I indicate and only a small hole will be needed. Once that box is located, the rest is a piece of cake. One wire dropped down to the basement where the circuit breakers are located. There's an empty slot waiting for that wire.

What have I learned so far?
  • Well, rough sawn lumber is hardly dimensional--and after years of freezing and thawing weather may not be straight either.
  • That same lumber along with the very dry tongue and groove pine, bead board, barn board siding, etc. is very, very brittle and can give you lots of splinters really, really fast if you're not careful and bang the back of your hand against it when the pry bar slips.
  • Pink insulation really itches and not having running water to wash the little pits away is annoying. (Okay. I didn't learn that today, but certainly had it reenforced.)
  • Mice and bats definitely leave a messy collection between the attic floor boards. (Of course, the left over concrete chips and dust from when I removed the chimney last spring didn't make it any cleaner.)
  • "Measure twice, cut once," may be the motto of the constructor, but "I wonder what will happen if I hit/pull on this." works fine for the destructor--and can be just as much fun.
  • Wires someone else installed never go where you think they should.
  • The canvas coating on the old wires (circa 1930s-40s electrification project?) gets very brittle with age.

That's about it for today. I'd include pictures but it only looks like a can of worms or a plate of spaghetti anyway.


Rev. Paul said...

And Mr. AC Sensor is your friend - great for finding live wires behind walls, etc.

Either way, that's quite a laundry list - you've certainly got your hands full.

joated said...

Mr. AC Sensor might, indeed, be my friend, but, alas, there is no power running through those lines behind the sheetrock wo even he would be stymied. And, even if I did hook it up, all the outlets and light fixtures are pulled apart. Besides, the present wire ends in the poor, overworked, ceiling fixture in the kitchen.

Richard said...

I've rewired many an old house and it is a messy deal all around. I found the best way to do it was just to leave all the old wire where it is that way you can just follow it to find things. I also found that it is really time and work saving to just run conduit up the outside of the house to feed new wire to the attic area saving having to cut out drywall and ceiling. Just some tips that might help you.