The Trick is Knowing When to Stop

For the love of God, help me! I’ve been here for four days, and a turtle’s got a hold of my teeth!

– Abe Simpson

We opted to do our own electrical work for the loft remodel. Here’s our scorecard to date:

Days taken off to wire: 7 total

Trips to store: 10

Trips to store to buy knee pads: 1

Head bumps on framing: 106

Head bumps specifically experienced by Kevin: 105

Drill bits expired: 2

Headlamps purchased: 2

Declarations of love for headlamps: 31

Ladders fallen off of: 1

Splinters extracted: 12.5

Money saved: TBD, but in the four figures

Completion level versus original plan: 80%

Completion level versus revised plan: 95%

Originally, we were going to do all the wiring — the new parts, the alterations to existing circuits, a subpanel, and the air conditioning connections. After we strip and label a few wires, we’re going to be ready for rough-in inspection on the new circuits and the updated wiring (replacing knob and tube from the 1920s).

There will be ceiling lights.

There will be ceiling lights.


Here’s a run Kevin did. His wiring is perfectly neat every time. Shut up, Kevin!

My dad is in town, and he helped us with the last of the standard wiring over the weekend. We asked him to help us figure out the air conditioner wiring, because Dad is wise in the ways of wires.

Frightening enough just sitting there.

The AC unit is frightening enough just sitting there.

Kev and Dad opened up the AC while I was finishing a run in the reading room. There was a long silence from the eaves, then Dad said, “I think you should hire an electrician for this.” Dad is the original King of DIY, so I knew he must be serious if he suggested hiring someone.

“Why’s that?” I asked.

“Soooo many wires,” Kev said.

Perhaps Harry Tuttle could stop by?

Perhaps Harry Tuttle could give us a hand?

We could figure this thing out to the satisfaction of the inspector, absolutely. But it would take us many moons compared to an electrician, who could probably do this in his/her sleep. And if we are hiring an electrician to do that, there’s also the subpanel that we have pending. I really hate wrangling large-gauge wires, so maybe an electrician would like to take that on, too. MAYBE AN ELECTRICIAN WOULD LIKE TO PICK UP OUR GROCERIES AND CHANGE OUR OIL!

You want me to do what now??

You want me to do what now? (See the angry face?)

I don’t think it’s a good idea for me to do a tutorial on wiring here, because it’s such a huge topic and there are so many situations to cover. If you are interested in wiring, there are some excellent starter books. We have the Black and Decker home wiring guide (an older version) and really love it, but there are a bunch of options. Make sure you are comfortable with all the core concepts and do all your work to code and under permit. You may find you love it, particularly if you are a left-brain person. But don’t try to guess your way through a wiring situation! When you get to that junction (heh!) as we did, it’s time for a professional

And so begins the big fun of finding another licensed professional for this project. Scorecard on that:

Electricians contacted to date: 3

Of those, electricians advertising same-day call-backs: 2

Number of electricians who have called back, same day or otherwise: 0

Well, tomorrow is another day. There are still a million electricians anyway. Or maybe we will return to the old deal and wire EVERYTHING. It’s a fluid situation, people.

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