When you’re renovating your own house, you do a lot of it in the evenings after you’ve worked a full day at the office. That’s exactly what we’ve been doing when it comes to the wiring of the addition, with a couple weekend days thrown in. I’m happy to say we’re almost done downstairs, and the upstairs is completely finished.
Andy and his brother are very good at wiring but I got to get in on it once too with their guidance. I drilled some holes, and ran some wiring to the one outlet under our double bedroom windows. Who’s proud? Two thumbs pointing at this girl right here. To be fair, they did 99% of it, and I just helped Andy decide where some of the outlets should go.
Here’s the quick breakdown:
At the top of the stairs we’ll have a “closet”, but unlike a regular closet, this closet will hold an electrical panel and a heat recovery ventilator. We already have an electrical panel in the basement, so I was confused as to why we weren’t expanding that one instead of putting a new one upstairs. Andy explained it by simply saying it means a lot less work not having to run the wiring into the basement, and it will make access easier in the long run. I know he knows what he’s talking about and let’s be honest, I just care about what the fixtures look like in the end.
The heat recovery ventilator will be down the line and the best most nontechnical way I can explain it is simply to say it takes the heat from the air/wood stove and exchanges the heat into fresh air coming into the house. With a house that will be as airtight as ours, it’s an important thing to have. You can read more about them here if you want the technical details.
Obviously nothing is hooked up yet, we would never leave hot wires hanging out like that! One of the most important steps in running wiring is obviously not to have the wiring hot, but to also label every single wire as you go. Don’t try and remember what runs where. You can’t see it in the photo above, but each wire is labeled both at the breaker end and at the outlet end. You can slightly see this labeling in the photo below.
Here’s a better view of some of the wiring in the master bedroom. The round blue box up top is for a hardwired fire alarm, which we’re putting throughout the house. This way if one alarm goes off, they all go off. We use a wood stove fairly exclusively, including while we sleep at night so it feels doubly important to make sure we have a serious fire alarm system in place. Add in that we use propane for cooking instead of natural gas, and it means it just makes me feel a lot better to know there’s a hard wired system in place. Despite the fact if the propane blew up the fire alarm would have little help, but it still makes me feel better. Oh, and every alarm also has a carbon monoxide alarm in them too which is just as, if not more, important.
(Yes, we also keep a seat up here. I told you the sun is pretty awesome up here. Sometimes you just want to come sit in the morning sun in your soon to be bedroom, or see the evening sunset. Not too bad people, not too bad.)
One of the other things you’ll always find up here with us is Rosie. She loves being with us and couldn’t care less about loud noises. This particular day she discovered the bathroom plumbing and was quite perplexed by the toilet pipe. She stood like this with a furrowed brow for a good five minutes and kept looking at me for clarification. I wish I got on video when she stuck her nose down it and you could hear her sniffing quietly echoing throughout the pipe. She’s a keeper.
And so it all goes, drilling, wiring, repeat. I would be remiss to end this post without one of Andy’s “throw-it-together-for-free” ideas to help make running wire easier. Who needs an expensive wire spindle when you have plywood, screws, and a pipe?
Oh, and I have an upcoming post for you. Here’s a hint – between $20,000 and $30,000 worth of items for free and not from a sponsor (because I have none), but from my husband being the man. It’s pretty unbelievable. Then again, he never ceases to amaze me.
P.S. High-fives to anyone who can name the jingle I made the title of this post from!