Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Doin' the Electric Slide

Alright, I'll admit it (again) that I haven't done jack-squat on the house for a while. The Xbox 360 has been drawing way too much of my attention, and I'm thinking I might have an addiction to it.

Regardless, work must go on.

I'm probably repeating myself by saying this, but before I can do any "meaningful" work on the house I need to finish two large projects. First, the electrical system on the house needs to be upgraded because:
- it's a 100 amp service which is maxed out.
- the previous owners wouldn't know proper wiring methods if their lives depended on it.
- if I'm going to add a dish washer and disposal and heated bathroom floor, I need room in the panel for those three circuits.

Second, I need to update the water supply system in the house. I blogged specifically about our crappy water a number of times, and it's almost time to pull the trigger on getting clean water here.

Before I can do that, however, the electrical needs to be done because I'll need some good dedicated circuits for the new water softener and iron filter. More on that later.

For now, I got an electrician out here to look over the system and he's now been hired to come out and take care of the service panel for me. I can add circuits and do normal wiring, but changing out a 45 year old panel and upgrading from 100 amp to 200 amp is slightly beyond my comfort level.

Here's what $2,000 American will buy me:

A new 200 amp panel will be installed. The supply line from the outside meter into the panel will be replaced with an above-ground line. (the line comes to the house on overhead wires and runs down the side of the house to the meter, then underground and through the foundation wall - we're getting rid of the part which goes underground).

The half-ass wiring to the stove will be fixed so the whole system will pass inspection.

The old conduit which carried wiring that went to the crappy old fake fireplace will be reused to carry new wires dedicated for audio/video/computer equipment.

The furnace will be isolated on it's own circuit, meaning the sump pump, basement lighting, and water softener will finally get their own circuits.

The existing wiring for the A/C will be replaced with the proper larger-gauge wiring.

An outdoor outlet will be added by the patio, meaning I can finally plug something in out back without having to run an extension cord through the window.

A GFCI outlet will replace the regular outlet above the laundry sink, and will be relocated close to the washer/dryer so I don't have to use an extension cord for the dryer.

A whole-house surge suppression system will be installed.

A few other misc. items will be taken care of by the electrician, along with all permits and mapping out of the circuits for me. No longer will half of the breakers be labeled "pump" and the other half "lights".

I had budgeted $2,000 for this, and expected to pay that +/- $200.00. I'd have come in on the low-side if I didn't spend the extra $175 for the surge suppression. Cheap insurance, in my opinion, and exactly on-budget.

Work should start in less than two weeks, so hopefully I can get the water guys out here right away after electrical is done. Then I can start on either the kitchen or bathroom. Assuming the electrician shows up and works... I've heard too many horror stories about no-show contractors to feel warm & fuzzy yet.


Rod said...

I hope every thing goes ok and to plan. I think Contractors are pretty bad at showing up when they're supposed to. It's a pain really. But in Australia we have a few companies who guarantee that they'll be there on time, otherwise you get a discount. Those ones are pretty good.

Muskego Jeff said...

There are some companies around here that guarantee times. The guy I'm working with had planned to show up this past Thursday, but we had agreed up front that his work would depend on the weather.

Basically, he wanted it to be a little warmer outside because he has to do a bit of work outside and the house will be without power for a number of hours.

Thursday saw a high of 10 degrees F. Way too cold, but he said he'd do the work if I had already scheduled off, and would run a temporary line to power the furnace. I told him to reschedule for this week Tues or Weds.