Sunday, July 30, 2006

Piping for 13 hours

Saturday was quite possibly one of the longest days working on our house. Or maybe working in an attic during the 105 heat index made it feel even worse. The day started off well (and cool) enough, as our electrician Fred showed up as promised bright and early. After walking through the details with Jay, he put together a shopping list of a few extra items that Jay had not already picked up.

While Jay ran to Lowes, Fred started drilling through walls studs, sawing 1/2" metal conduit with a cool cordless bandsaw (which Jay promptly nicknamed "The Green Machine"), and contorting metal conduit into all kinds of funky shapes. Smartly, Fred started working on the non-A/C side of the attic first (the side that faces West and will be the master bedroom). He had most of the bedroom complete by the time Jay returned.

In the past year since Fred wired our basement, Jay had tried a few times (mostly unsuccessfully) to work with conduit and the pipe bender he has. Now, Jay was a willing apprentice as Fred tried to teach him some of the tricks of measuring and bending conduit. With a little help, it actually wasn't too bad. Jay ended up doing the stairs, half of the hallway lighting and smoke detectors, and half of the spare bedroom before the day was done.

Granted, that is only about 15% of the work and Fred needed help on some things a lot, but still, not too bad for an amateur.

By 5 o'clock we started moving slow as the heat sunk in and the A/C struggled to keep up. But Fred was determined at that point to get all the piping done before he left for the day. We pressed on, figured out a way to route the conduit down to the main circuit panel in what's termed the "homerun". I thought Fred kept referring to the Cubs spanking the Cards until I figured that out. Additionally, the centrally-wired smoke detectors will need to be wired into existing smoke detectors in the basement, so that required another pipe coming downstairs as well.

Then we determined that we were out of conduit. We'd already gone through about 450 feet of pipe(!) but needed another 40 more to finish the spare bedroom. Mostly this was because an earlier pipe Jay had run before the floor was completed turned out to be unusable.

After thinking this spelled the end of the day, Fred said no way. He was not leaving when we were so close to finishing. Maybe he's just a glutton for punishment. Or was trying to avoid his visiting in-laws. At any rate, when the work was finally done it was pretty much 8:30. Subtracting the half hour for lunch, that was 13 hours of work! Wow.

Fred says pulling the wires should only take 1/2 day though. Not quite clear if that means a normal 7.5 hour day or a true half day (4-5 hours) though. At any rate, he'll be coming out to finish the job and hook up some temporary outlets and lighting for us. Then we'll actually have power (or Lectre) and be able to call for the rough inspection. Woot!

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