Electric

November 3, 2012. As I finish the rough plumbing, it's time to plan electric. I have been trying to get AC Electric to come to the house so we can decide where the street wires will come into the house. A couple of big storms have been keeping the electric company busy so my meetings keep getting postponed. I will get started anyway, since the electric company will not bring power to the house without completed and inspected wiring.

Electricity has its own set of rules that translate into the National Electric Code. I began drawing floor plans, then mapped out a breaker panel diagram to define each circuit. Like always, I got lots of help from internet forums and I have a great book: Wiring a House by Rex Cauldwell.

November 8. Here is an example of a diagram that I submitted today with my permit application. S's stand for switches, the receptacles are small circles with parallel lines, the light fixtures are the bigger open circles:

I started nailing on boxes. In the sunroom:

November 9. The AC Electric rep stopped by, said I will probably have to mount the meter on the sunroom wall. That may change where I can put the load center. Move on. I can wire outlets together in circuits even though I don't know where they will end up. Here is a fast, accurate and easy way to measure the height of electric outlet boxes. Only one tool required to measure and mount the box:

November 10. Rough wiring in the living room:

Work lights after 6 PM:

I have drilled most of the studs for wires to outlet boxes. I have found a combination of short, medium and long boring bits are necessary to get holes through all the wall studs, some of which are 4, 5 or 6 studs deep:

As I get a deeper understanding of the wiring of the whole house, I have made some small changes in the plan. Some outlets are difficult to reach so I have changed their locations, and I have rerouted some outlets to other circuits.

November 11. More wiring. Here is the switch on the inner mudroom wall. A 3-way switch for the mudroom, and one switch for the light above the east-side kitchen area:

November 12. We wired the upstairs bedrooms.

November 13. One first floor lighting circuit nearly complete:

November 14 - 16. Hardwiring smoke detectors and bedroom lights.

November 17. I'm taking a break from wiring to build stairs, though my son is wiring switches and porch lights.

November 23 - 28. Trying to finish rough electric, nearly done. 15 or so circuits going into the panel on November 26.

I mounted metal boxes with conduit on 3/4" plywood in the basement for laundry:

Conduits for hot water heater and water treatment system:

Sump pump and well pump:

December 5. Rough electric failed inspection :-( I had run some wires along the back door frames and though they would be protected by the framed doors, they are apparently not allowed. Also, some of the wires were too short exiting the boxes and I need to have outdoor outlets front and back.

I reran the door frame wires by drilling diagonally through miles of framing:

We lengthened the short wires either by pulling wires that had some give, or by running a few new wires. I pulled wires for outdoor outlets and courtesy lights by each back door and called for another inspection.

December 17, 2012. Rough electric passed inspection! That's a white approval sticker on the panel door:

February 23, 2013. We started wiring outlets and switches, waiting until the house was painted before we started wiring.

March 4. All outlets and switches wired. Time to go back to the breaker panel and wire it up. Here is with several breakers installed:

March 5:

March 8. Panel wired except for the subpanel wires. Also, I had an electrician install the meter box on the outside of the house. Here is the meter box:

March 11. The panel with big aluminum wires coming in at the bottom, behind the favorable inspection sticker:

March 10 through 20, wiring fans, heaters, lights, and the well pump:

They put the well pump pipe over by the PEX manifold. That's good, but I had to rerun the well pump wire:

We are also covering outlets and switches with wall plates.

March 24. Hot water heater plumbed and wired. I used waterproof conduit and connectors here:

This view of the pressure tank manifold shows the waterproof conduit to the pressure switch:

March 27. Another fan hung:

One more socket to wire. We put "contractor lights" in some of the fan boxes because three fans are on order. We will build and install them when they arrive.

March 28. I cleaned up the breaker panels, attached the covers and labeled the breakers:

I installed the dryer outlet in the basement, I covered the two outdoor outlets and we installed the last light. The house is completely wired, ready for power from the power company. The request for power was made on March 14. When will it get here??

April 2. Power arrives!

Three power company trucks in the yard when I arrived today. They had already pulled the big wire to the house and were ready to leave.

I went in the house, threw the main switch in the main panel and started testing each circuit. Lighting circuit I OK:

There were a few issues: a miswired light switch, a bad GFCI outlet in the kitchen, a fan light with a loose wire. It took a few days to test everything because not all light fixtures had bulbs in them yet.

Lights on inside:

From the outside:

Final electric inspection scheduled for April 8.