Monday, April 16, 2007


Saturday we were feeling pretty spent and had to decide between rewiring the bathroom or assembling the tub/shower valves and plumbing. We opted for the more straightforward task of rewiring the bathroom.

Early on in the renovation we had removed some outlets and switches to make way for floor framing and wall demolition, so first we needed to map out the circuits. We did this by a combination of flipping on a circuit and testing wires, outlets, and switches with our handy voltage tester. Once we determined what the bathroom and neighboring kitchen and dining room circuit components were, we were ready to figure out an electrical configuration for the bathroom.

We decided we only need 2 outlets in there. Those would be for guests with bathroom machines, because all of our bathroom devices are old fashioned, I guess. In fact, I can't remember the last thing I ever plugged into a bathroom wall. Oh yeah, it was a phone charger in a campground bathroom in Ohio, about 2 seconds before a bolt of lightning struck 20 feet from me. How ironic. Anyway, we want the light switch for the overhead light to be right inside the door, and a switch for the light above the sink on another wall.

We ran new wire, re-routed old wire, bored holes in frames, and temporarily taped switch boxes in place. I spent about 30 minutes trying to feed a wire through a round-the-corner set of holes that must have been drilled before the old post was assembled. Two leads were run up to where the light fixtures will eventually be installed. It was pretty cool when we tested everything out with the voltage detector and it all worked!

Lastly, we disassembled an old wall-mounted light and reassembled it as a hanging fixture. Erika wired up a junction box and nailed it to a 2x4 that she then placed across two ceiling joists. She wired our little lamp up to it, then we turned the power back on. Flipped the bathroom switch and on came the light! We turned it on and off a few times, giggling.

Since part of the bathroom circuit included a couple of outlets in the dining room, we removed them and joined the wires together in a junction box so now the bathroom is completely on its own circuit. We identified a wire that is the start of its own circuit, but goes to nowhere (used to go to an outlet). We'll use this to power the dining room. Finally, we tied up a dead-end wire that was left hanging (powerless, of course) after the kitchen wall demo. We made it "safe," put some bulbs in the kitchen overheads, and returned power to that part of the kitchen, for the first time in almost a month.

The day was gray and rainy and we drank coffee, had delicious pastries from down the road, and kept WTJU's Rock Marathon turned up the whole time.

- John

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