Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Let There Be Light

I don't have a picture because I'm too embarrassed at all the junk in our utility room so you'll just have to use your imagination. In getting prepared for some winter projects, I knew that I needed to fix the lighting situation in our utility/laundry/storage room. It consists of about one fourth of our basement but only had three lights. Each of the lights were pushed up against a air duct or a beam so that you got some light but mostly you just got dark shadows. I found myself pulling out my cellphone and using it as a flashlight to find things just so I didn't have to go back upstairs to get a real flashlight.

So with the local home improvement store having a 11% Rebate going on, I loaded up on light. I ended up getting a half dozen 5 inch can lights and two industrial looking sconce lights for the wall underneath the ducting. I also got LED bulbs to put in everything. The sconce lights are for the utility side of the room where there is no space above to put a can light, or even a ceiling light. I put them on the wall on either side of the central HVAC unit so I can see the water heater and breaker box better. I also have some shelving by the breaker box for storing household repair stuff that is temperature sensitive like leftover paints, spackles, caulking, etc. Now I can easily see what I have.

The six can lights I strung in a line from one end to the other with one of them going into an alcove where the laundry machines are. I wired them all up using new wire and after turning off the switch, made the final connection to the wire that came from the light switch that had previously gone to the first light in the old series. I turned on the switch and nothing happened. I got out my electrical tester to find out where I had gone wrong but it showed there was no power to the switch and I hadn't done anything to the back side of it. I started checking outlets and all of them were dead. I flipped and reflipped breakers but none had tripped and nothing worked.

Cussing under my breath, I started taking the cover off the first light from the switch to check the wiring when I noticed the outlet that had gotten replaced during my last electrical fiasco. It was one of those GFI outlets per code in basements these days. It had been behind the door so I hadn't seen it right away to trip my memory. Sure enough, the light was not on which meant that it had been tripped. I'm not sure why it tripped but I suspect that I must have bumped it with a tool or my leg while I was working in that area to attach a junction box for the sconce. I pushed the reset button, turned on the light switch and light shown forth.

My basement is well lit now. I went from three poorly placed 8 inch can lights with CFL bulbs to six 5 inch can lights running LED bulbs and two sconces running LED bulbs. I also used daylight temperature bulbs which is a whiter light but is nice when you are hunting for things in the corner of the basement. 

Now that I have light, my first plan is to add some more storage for our excess kitchen gear. With our small kitchen and both of us loving to cook, we simply have no place for all our kitchen gadgets or utensils. When you need ten ramekins for a dessert, they are nice to have but where to store them. Right now, they are balanced on our large storage shelves along with our plastic storage totes but they collect dust and I'm afraid that someday they will be knocked onto the floor. We also have other stuff like canning gear, extra coffee pot, rotisserie, etc. that get used a few times a year but spend their time in boxes on the floor. My solution is to buy some cheap upper kitchen cabinets from the home improvement store and mount them to the wall in a corner with nothing and put all the fragile unboxed kitchen stuff there. The rest of the boxed items can go back on the now vacated shelf to free up some floor space. I will get some pictures of that as I get those projects done and I can narrow in the focus of the picture so not to show all the other junk packed away.


Kelly said...

Lighting and storage are two things that are vitally important in a design, and often not well done. I drew up the plans for our house and tried to make sure to put in exactly what we needed. There are always a few things you look back on and know you'd do differently, but I only had one room in which the lighting disappointed. It's since been corrected.

Never be afraid to post photos. I might only be speaking for myself, but I don't think any of us would judge. ;)

Ed said...

Kelly - It seems like every house I've lived in I've been underwhelmed with the lighting. So many forgo use of ceiling lights for their plugged in brethren. I like well lit rooms, perhaps because I like to read books instead of only watching a television.

sage said...

Curious about your upcoming projects... Good lighting is a blessing!