Thursday, April 07, 2011

Some Progress--
not much, but some

So, Mark and I spent about three hours last evening 1- testing every circuit in the breaker box to see what it turns on/off 2- tracing the remaining old canvas covered (aluminum!) wire to see if there's some magical place where we can hook into the new wire already in place in the upstairs bedroom and kids bedroom thereby saving us (but mainly me) from having to cut through sheetrock ceilings.

We made several discoveries which all lead to the same question: Why hasn't this place burned down before this?

The one canvas covered wire still originating in the basement apparently fed power to a gazillion outlets and lights in the kitchen, front porch, woodshed, utility/storage room kids bedroom, and upstairs bedroom. Why it didn't get overloaded ages ago--before dripping water and ice shorted out the switch in the woodshed--probably has to do with the way electricity was used. Seldom were there more than two or three of those lights/outlets ever in use at the same time.

We traced the path of that single wire up the side of the basement steps, up the side of the steps leading to the upstairs bedroom and into the attic crawl space. There, things got funky.

I've not yet pulled up all the floorboards in that crawl space, and so I've not been able to tell for sure where it goes but.... We did expose the box to which the kitchen ceiling light was attached. It has four (4!) wires running to/from it not counting the wall switch I ran over the surface of the ceiling/wall. What those four wires do has yet to be determined.

A single wire (canvas covered) runs up the wall of the crawl space from some as yet undetermined locale and into the ceiling of the bedroom. There's a small roof structure that I can cut away inside the attic and I'm hoping that will expose a junction box where the canvas wire joins the new and improved 12-2 wire that runs to all the outlets and lights in the bedroom. There are only two of each but if that canvas wire disappears into the pink insulation finding that junction box could be a royal pain.

The light on the front porch which we thought was being supplied by a wire running within the ceiling of the porch (a relatively easy fix once we breach the knee wall between the attic space and the space over the porch) is actually supplied through the switch in the kitchen. That switch, in turn, gets power from a wire that runs UP inside the wall which is nothing more than three planks covered on the outside by solid foam insulation and cedar shingles. The wire goes UP in the middle of the three planks in a hole just barely large enough for it's passage. There is no slack or movement when it is tugged so it may even be stapled to the plans somewhere along the way. I'll know more when I get into the attic and pull up some more floorboards but it looks like the porch light supply may be one of those four (4!) wires that comes out of the kitchen fixture.

We've yet to figure out where the power comes from for the kids bedroom (two lights--three if you count the one in the closet--and four outlets. It may be coming in from the attic and shooting to either the wall switch or the wall light. I pulled them yesterday and thought they had nothing but new wire, but I'm going to look again after I get into the attic.

There you have it. Still need to find the sources of power and the junction boxes that control it for the two bedrooms. Locating those junction boxes would save heaps of time and effort. I'd be able to run a new power source directly to the box, cut out the canvas wire, and be good to go in no time with a new circuit or two. Everything else we/I can rewire in different paths to join existing circuits that currently are blessedly enjoying very low demand. I mean two fluorescent lights on one circuit?


Rev. Paul said...

It just gets gooder and gooder, don't it?

JDP said...

Sounds like you have your work cut out for you, Good Luck!