Friday, April 18, 2008

More lessons learned

Push button switches are cool. Or at least that's what we thought when we saw them during the showing. There were three in the house, all on the same wall. We figured they must have skipped that wall during the electrical updating. No big problem, Kevin took home electrics in high school, he could fix it. Except, that wasn't the only thing. There was the fact that the foyer light was operated with a pull chain. That most of the light fixtures seemed original to the house's first wiring.

Hmmm.... The house has new electrical, right?

Well, no, not exactly. What it has is a new circuit box updated to 100 amp. There is a little Romex in the basement, but other than that, our wiring could serve as a museum exhibit: Wiring Throughout the Ages. There's a little of everything, mostly knob and tube. Scary.

Now, the thing about rewiring is, once you get going, it's hard to stop. everything is connected. So what began as an upper floor rewire soon became an upper-floor-and-most-of-the-main-floor rewire.

Our house is a weird design for a bungalow, which I attribute to it being relatively early on the scene. It was built in 1907. It has an upper floor with three bedrooms and a hallway. All of the bedrooms have slanty ceilings. The bathroom is downstairs, off the "hallway of doors" characteristic of bungalows. We have an eat-in kitchen, living room, dining room and huge foyer. The stairs are not hidden, but a fixture of the foyer. Anyway, the reason this is significant for the electrical is that we have scads of crawlspaces. Five, to be exact. Which makes rewiring a lot easier. We really only had to cut out a section of ceiling in the main floor hall, and everything else was accessed through crawl spaces.

Along the way, we've found some questionable wiring practices. My favorites:

Though we are not doing the bathroom or kitchen rewire yet (we're waiting until we remodel), we found this gem while removing our old stove. The wood paneling is the wall, gray linoleum the floor. That pipe is the gas to the stove. That snakey thing is Romex wire, coming up from the hole for the gas, and going into an unused outlet. From there it goes up through the wall to a light fixture with an outlet on it where the stove was plugged in. Real safe.

Next we have wiring installed under the quarter round in the master bedroom...

and a nail going right through the wire.

We are sooo close to being ready for the rough-in inspection, and I think after this weekend, we can start the fun stuff (new fixtures!). Until then, we have three working outlets in the house, and a lot of extension cords. Wish us luck.

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