Front Room Electrical: Not So Easy. Or Clean

It all started Thanksgiving weekend when Chris got his 6' bit stuck in the wall. We're (I mean Chris, I'm just the assistant when it comes to electrical work) trying to rewire the lights and outlets in the front room because they're knob and tube and they need to be updated. The plan was to run the romex from the attic down to the outlets, but that has proven to be a bit difficult.

Chris took his trusty 6' bit and drill into the attic in an attempt to drill a hole through the fire blocking and cross bracing, and then fish the wire down to the outlets. But along the way much time was spent cursing and the bit fell into the wall. Whoopsie. So we did what anyone else would do. Buy a new bit. I mean break a hole in the wall and fish your bit out

With the bit retrieved and better access to the inside of the wall (because we made a hole) we tried again to drill through the fire blocking

But it wasn't really going well. At this point we'd spent a decent amount of time, cussed a lot, and busted 1 hole in the wall and we still didn't have the romex at the outlet. Not wanting to throw any tools through the large picture window, we moved on to another project for the day and picked it back up the next day.

We resolved that on this second go round we would try to run the cable from under the house. The alternative was to bust more holes in our walls to get around all the blocking, and well, we didn't really want to do that.

We started by removing all the old outlet face plates, hardware and boxes. The old boxes were quite a headache to remove because they had metal clips on the side that got hammered into the wood

So, again, we did what anyone would do and brought in the grinder to saw through the metal clips of the old boxes and then pull them out with pliers (and do not worry, the electrical was switched off to all these outlets so we wouldn't have another incident)

Pretty pictures :)

With all the outlets now "safely" removed, Chris crawled under the house to run the wire to each outlet. I stayed in the room to direct him to each outlet, drill pilot holes so he knew where to drill to feed the wire, and pulled and cut the wire at all the outlets. It was a dirty job for Chris - you know it's love when you're boyfriend spends 2 hours under the house laying in mud and he lets you have the clean job :)

At each outlet I drilled a pilot hole at the base of the baseboard (at 2 outlets there were already pilot holes). See the little tiny hole on the floor right in the center of the outlet?

Then Chris would then know exactly where he was in relation to the outlet and then he'd drill a hole to feed the cable (this one was weird and had to go through a floor joist because of the step down in this room, but most of the others went through the bottom plate)

We'd feed through a second wire, and then Chris would run that second wire under the house (stapling along the way) and to the next outlet, where we would repeat the process

We worked well and fast together (considering the working conditions for Mr. Christopher) and after about 2-3 hours Chris got to crawl out from under the house. Doesn't he look so handsome? (and deserving of a shower?)


Heather said...

He's a keeper, that one.

meryl rose said...

He IS a keeper :)

Bunny @ 86n It said...

The pilot hole idea is genius!
I had to replace on of those metal boxes while putting in FC's room fan controller. I almost started throwing things around the room it was SO frustrating.
Fishing wire? I leave that to my dad or I'll go postal.

meryl rose said...

Oh, things may have been thrown. But Chris had that pilot hole idea and then we were a lot more successful (and quieter and less violent) afterwards :)

aptpupil said...

fyi: we used full size, single gang carlon retrofit boxes instead of the small metal ones that were in there because we had two 12/2 cables coming in plus the outlet. had we stayed with the old boxes it would have been almost impossible to get the wire in there and it would have been a box fill violation.