06 February, 2009

New Light and New Wiring for Enclosed Back Porch, Part One

Well, we managed to complete items one through four (of seven) on our list of home improvement resolutions for January 2009. Phooey, I thought we'd do better. We made some progress on item seven, select a sink and toilet for the first floor bathroom, but haven't made any final decisions. In a day or so I'll post our February 2009 resolutions, carrying some of this stuff over.

I have to say, doing a month by month list does keep us focused, even if we don't accomplish everything. It's all about laying out those goals.

Anyway, Ted did manage to tackle item three, which sounded simple at first: Install new light on back porch. It turned into an all-weekend project. Rather than have me try to describe exactly what he did, here it is in his own words (more or less):


To Start: We're replacing the light bulb that illuminates the landing leading to the upstairs porch. Click on any of the following pictures to enlarge them. At present, it's a bare bulb. We need to get out our big ladder to even change it. The light is controlled by a switch in the kitchen of our unit. The tenants cannot control this particular light from their unit, although it would benefit them the most to be able to do so.

Here are the steps to this project:
  1. installed a heater cable in roof gutter, bringing cord into top of enclosed porch
  2. removed old porch light (old light was a bare bulb installed sideways, and so was burning paint off of the porch siding--we're amazed it hadn't burned the porch down)
  3. installed a single receptacle in the upper corner of porch, at the point where the heater cable plug enters; we had left the can of foam sealant on the ledge next to the receptacle, and the next morning found it had continued to ooze
  4. ran conduit from the heater cable receptacle to a new electrical box for the porch light
  5. installed the new porch light, at an angle so that it's away from the porch siding; if you click on the image to enlarge it, you will see all the nails coming through the bead board--some *grumble* previous owner used nails that were way too big, destroying the bead board in the process
  6. ran conduit from the porch light to a new electrical box accessible from the landing
  7. installed a GFCI receptable and a switch/pilot light combination device in the electrical box
  8. The GFCI receptable, in addition to providing power at the landing, also supplies power to the heater cable receptable so that the heater cable has GFCI protection.
  9. The switch/pilot light is wired to the heater cable receptacle, allowing it to be controlled from the landing. The pilot light is wired so that it is lit when the switch is on, in order to make it obvious when the heater cable is in use.
  10. All the newly installed electrical stuff is powered temporarily by the BX cable that powered the old porch light, but that will eventually be replaced by a new circuit, run through more conduit leading down into the basement.
  11. Sought out extensive validation.
So, quite the endeavor, eh? We had picked up the porch light, normally $70, at a going-out-of-business sale for $10. In the near future, Ted will replace the rest of the flexible BX cable with conduit and install the rest of the new lights; we only paid between $7 and $15 for each one.

I can't show you what the top porch itself looks like, the one this landing leads to, because it is used by our tenants. But here's what our porch looks like, when it isn't covered in junk accumulated over the winter. If you're fairly new to the blog, the gray thing between the chairs is the back of our ice box.


Karen Anne said...

About those nails sticking into the beadboard - in my house, whoever shingled the garage did the same thing, so I have giant nails sticking out on all the walls. If I or anyone ever stumbles against them, we'd be in a torture chamber.

What is it with this? Did they do the entire building and then see, oops, nail problem, or did they just not think?

Anyway, my plan is to get more pegboard (there is already some up on part of two walls), and pegboard the entire lower part of the walls. This will also give me more room to hang up tools and whatnot.

Shane said...

Pull those nails out, renail it with smaller nails, and fill in the holes with filler. Then throw a layer of paint on. I imagine it would look as good as new.