Monday, December 21, 2015


It took me a couple days but I finally finished rewiring the office/exercise room/spare bedroom. It wasn't without it's challenges. Recapping the problems, there weren't enough outlets of of the three that I had, only one of them worked. None of the three outlets appeared to be screwed to a stud so when you pushed a plug into the receptacle, you had to be careful not to dislodge the entire works. After rewiring everything, I now have three double outlets underneath what will be my custom built desk and four other single gang outlets around the room, all working and all firmly attached to studs.

The two that weren't working was due to a shorted wire because someone pushing a plug into a loose receptacle had pushed too hard and the contact had hit the side of the metal box. That particular wire led to the other two receptacles. Now I have plastic boxes so that should never happen again and as I stated, they are firmly attached so one doesn't have to worry about pushing too hard.

Being thrifty, when I put in the new can lights, I salvaged the wire from the old lights to reuse. I noticed it was 14 gauge wire which is good for 15 amp service to the room which is fairly common in older homes. So I reused it in a number of places wiring up the outlets. However, when I went to hook my new outlets to the incoming power, I noticed that the incoming wire was 12 gauge which is rated for 20 amp service and is common to most newer homes. You can use 12 gauge wire with 15 amp service but you cannot use 14 gauge wire with 20 amp service. Confused, I went to check my service panel and saw that all my breakers were 20 amps which means I had to use only 12 gauge wire. This meant that whomever wired up the house initially didn't follow code and it meant that I had to rewire half the room using the correct gauge wire which I did.

Being that this room is a working office, I have my internet connections and phone connections to also deal with. Up until now, they have just came from cords fed through a hole in the ceiling which doesn't look very professional. So I added a couple junction boxes that will sit above the surface of the desk which I can just plug into and all the wires will be hidden behind the wall. The phone caused me a bit of panic when I wired it up and initially got no dial tone. I undid it and redid it back the way it had been and still had no dial tone. Thoughts of having to contact my phone provider and set up an appointment for some day weeks away and between the hours of 8 and 12 or 1 and 5 were dancing in my head when it occurred to me that I got my phone service through my internet provider which came to a box on my old desk. I plugged the phone line from that box into my wall jack (from where I had left it unplugged on the floor when moving the line to the other side of the room) and suddenly my phones came to life once again. The only drawback is that I only have a single jack so I now have no place to plug in my office phone. So it is one more trip to the hardware store to get a double phone jack so I can have both.

Although we don't have a television in our office, I am wiring it up for one in the future since it would be nice to have while riding an exercise bike or lifting weights on those blustery winter days when it isn't fit to go outside. I'm planning for a wall mount television so before I put up drywall, I am wiring an inset outlet on the wall for power and HDMI cable so that I can put a flat mount screen over it and there won't be a single visible cable. The box that trims all that out doesn't attached to studs and just clamps onto the drywall so until I get it up and wired, I capped the electrical wires so I didn't accidentally shock myself.

The drywall has been ordered and I'm getting it delivered to save me three trips to the hardware store trying to load the stuff myself. Until then, I will be adding insulation to the concrete walls, a vapor barrier and of course, wiring up a double phone jack. Then it will be doing the thing I hate most about home remodeling, drywalling, specifically the mudding and sanding part.


Kelly said...

I not sure I knew you could put in an electrical outlet that wasn't attached to a stud. Count on me to be the aggressive one who pushes the plug in too hard and caves in the wall!

It's actually a good thing that you've had to do all these renovations - a way to get everything done correctly and up to code.

Vince said...

When you are in there you might future proof it for fibre broadband. Even if you never use it, it's always a selling point to say it's there should it be needed.

Ed said...

Kelly - They do make a retrofit box that has little wings that pop up and then when you tighten the screw it will clamp to the drywall. They are very handy when you are adding outlets or switches after the fact. However, these boxes were not those. They were metal and had been screwed to the studs but had been done too tightly and they had nearly sheared off the screw heads. Then as the years had gone by, the screw heads had popped off and the box became loose.

Vince - Since I am putting in a removable ceiling, I will be able to fish new wires in the future to those boxes as technologies change without much difficulty. Currently, broadband fiber isn't available but where I lived before this it was but only to the outside of your house. From there it jumped to coaxial cable which had more than enough capacity for home use. If that remains the same, I have coaxial already in place for my internet connection.

Bob said...

I'm in awe, Ed. You continue to work smart and strategically, solving problems as you go. You will have a room you're proud of with your own personal touch.

Ed said...

Bob - Thank you. Although I can see the flaws of my work, it is a darn site better than it was and more functional. Not to mention, the price is right.