Monday, December 10, 2007

...and then there was light.

Over the years I have run cable TV, phone wires, done insulating, and stored and retrieved boxes. I've done duct work for bathroom vents and installed a ceiling van. Almost every time I go into the attic I need a flashlight and drill and extension cord. Most of the time the flashlight is low on batteries. The extension cord is cumbersome.

I finally solved all of that. The "attic lighting and electricity" project was about 10 years in the making.

Years ago I thought it would be nice to pull down the attic steps, climb up, and have a switch RIGHT THERE that would turn on fluorescent lights. These lights would be plugged into "wall outlets" so that I would have a convenient place to plug in my drill or any other tool I might use. Back then I had some spare electrical boxes, a switch and receptacles, and some wire. I nailed the boxes to the rafters and ran what wire I had to connect two receptacles, then ran out of wire. I closed the door and put the project on the back burner. Every now and then I would go up and say "one of these days I will get this done."

This past week I went and bought a box of wire and finished all the wiring of receptacles and the switch. The other "problem" I had back then was where to tap into for power. The other day the solution came to me. The switch was directly across from where I tapped in for the ceiling fan in my bedroom. I ran a wire across the roof ridge along the truss members and patched into the connector box I put there (so many years ago). Before hooking up those wires I had my son help me identify the correct circuit breaker to turn off.

We located the breaker by using a high tech solution. I used my cell phone to call my home phone. I went to the breaker box and talked to my son on the phone. For each breaker I asked if the bedroom light went off. We used modern technology to act like a pair of walkie talkies. Actually sent a signal MILES into space to talk to someone upstairs.

After the final connection I installed two new overhead shop fixtures. These cost about 9 bucks each and a pair of bulbs is about 3 bucks. Plugged them in, put in the bulbs, hung them, and voila. OOPS, one light fell out and smashed. Cleaned it up and installed another bulb and voila!!

The last thing to do is not a rush thing but requires another trip to the store. I'm going to get some LONG plastic ties to circle around the bulbs and fluorescent fixtures. I will connect these a little loosely (because I Love Loosely), 2 per fixture. That way, if I'm working around up there and accidentally nudge a bulb, it can fall out and be retained by the plastic ties without smashing. I'll wrap them loosely enough so that I can still remove and replace bulbs intentionally.

Anyway, cool job finished! In fact, I can even take a plug in radio up there with me if I so desire.