Tag Archives: electric

Notes, 5 Aug. 2015

Ron, left, and Steve, right, show four of the different types of electrical wire that Capstone is threading through studs, joists and rafters. Yellow to power the microwave and oven, black to power the induction cooktop, and two different yellow wires -- "two pair" and heavier gauge "three pair."
Ron, left, and Steve, right, show four of the different types of electrical wire that Capstone is threading through studs, joists and rafters. Orange to power the microwave and oven, black to power the induction cooktop, and two different yellow wires — “two pair” and heavier gauge “three pair.”

Electrical. The electrical walk continues, locating switches and outlets in the house. It’s day 3 of the electrical rough-in. Steve from Capstone Electric, Ron from Ranserve, and Steven focused today on the family room, kitchen, pantry, office, mudroom, garage, exterior lights.

Steven has homework — a run to Ikea over the weekend to purchase samples of the LED puck lights that will be used in display niches in the entry hall, and linear LED light strips with motion sensors that will be used inside closets. Steve the electrician needs one of each to figure out how to wire them up properly — “because no LED light fixture is wired the same as another.”

Almost two hours. With 10 minutes left over for Steven and Ron to talk about the flooring and building of stairs. Ron thinks he has it figured out. More detail to come.

Plumbing. Albert and the team from Custom Plumbing continue to install red, white and blue PEX tubing for water lines, while also pressure testing the gas lines.

Painter. Ron has the painters working in the house for the first time, caulking all the holes and sealing open joints in the exterior framing and siding, preparing the house for expanding foam insulation that would escape through any punctures in what will become a “sealed envelope.”

Habitat donations. Steven contacted Habitat at Ron’s request to ask for a fourth pickup — we have more stuff pulled out of the house for Habitat to recycle.

Draw 2. Larry at South Star reports the wire transfer payment by the Leons to Ranserve executed today. Kathleen at Ranserve is cheering.

 

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Electrical rough-in, day 2

Above … Ron Dahlke from Ranserve, left, Steve from Capstone Electric, right, and Steven, not seen, because he is taking the photo, convene for day 2 of the electrical rough-in walk through the house upstairs, in bath 3.

See the “can” — a rectangular metal box – mounted at the rafters over Steve’s head.

Wikipedia defines a “can” as a “recessed light or downlight (also pot light in Canadian English, sometimes can light (for canister light) in American English) is a light fixture that is installed into a hollow opening in a ceiling. When installed it appears to have light shining from a hole in the ceiling, concentrating the light in a downward direction as a broad floodlight or narrow spotlight. There are two parts to recessed lights, the trim and housing. The trim is the visible portion of the light. It is the insert that is seen when looking up into the fixture, and also includes the thin lining around the edge of the light. The housing is the fixture itself that is installed inside the ceiling and contains the lamp holder.”

The “can” over Steve’s head is in the wrong location. Instead … see the “can” over Ron’s head at left, and the box for an HVAC vent above where Steve is pointing? All three fixtures should instead align in that one bay between the two adjacent rafters. To make this happen, the HVAC vent needs to shift closer to the can over Ron’s head. Then, on the other side of the vent, opposite the first “can,” Steve has to remount the “can” that is currently located over his head. This second can must be located outside the tub shower that will be installed at the back wall. Why? It’s actually a can that combines both a fan and light. We need two lights to illuminate the bathroom. We need the fan to exhaust humid air from the bathroom when someone is taking a bath or shower.

Why this alignment? The bathroom vanity will be installed on the wall at Steve’s left elbow. There will be two sinks. The HVAC vent should be aligned with the center of the vanity, and the LEDs that are to be installed in the “cans” should be aligned with center of the two sinks in the vanity.

Meticulous detail. Careful planning. Explanations of logic. Compromises with electrical codes. Step by step, we work this all out over 20 minutes.

But we’re not done.

See the white tube running across the ceiling and down the wall. That’s PEX — defined by Wikipedia as “an acronym for crosslinked polyethylene. It is a flexible, durable, proven piping product that has been used in plumbing systems for more than 20 years. PEX tubing won’t pit, scale or corrode and, because of its flexibility, it also offers potential freeze-damage protection.”

The PEX line currently runs over two silver HVAC ducts and the exhaust fan duct in the ceiling, potentially restricting airflow. It will be relocated under the HVAC ducts. The fan duct will shift when Steve the electrician shifts the combo fan/light can.

Also, Ron is going to audit the installation of the HVAC ducts. Steven sees kinks, compressions that will reduce airflow, and too many ducts crammed into too small a space.

From bath 3, we shifted to the laundry/utility room next door, then the master bath. More than an hour later, we made it downstairs.

DSC_2592This is the exhaust fan installed in the ceiling over what will be Jadin’s shower in bath 2.

It’s not just a can light. It’s also an exhaust fan. With a humidity sensor that automates operation. Take a shower, it turns on the fan and blows the hot, humid air out of the house. When the humidity level drops, the sensor turns off the fan. Human interaction is not required. Which is important, because Jadin is a teen — and teens take long, hot showers.

See the silver exhaust duct? It takes a tight 90 degree turn out of the can, which constricts airflow. Then the duct rises up to clear a rafter, continues up over a run of pipes that vent the plumbing stack, to provide air behind water — the venting that is needed for water an waste to drain down pipes and out of the house.

So far, so good. But … where the duct crosses over the plumbing stack, it dips, and then it rises to the vent stack in the roof, which is where the wet air would vent out of the house. Except … because the duct dips, water is going to collect in the dip, plug the vent. No air is going to escape the house. And the duct will just collect more and more water over time.

This is wrong.

Ron says he will audit all the HVAC ducting for errors.

 

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Fenced in

Above … Ranserve today erected a temporary fence around the house. It’s a signal that framing is nearly complete and a new construction phase begins, focused on systems inside the house.

The team from Capstone, pulling wire.
The team from Capstone, pulling wire.

The electrical team from Capstone Electric is first to arrive, pulling spools of cable through the second floor, tracing the electrical plan to rough-in outlets and switches. Steve from Capstone, Ron from Ranserve, and Steven walked each room upstairs, talking through which switch in what location turns which light on or off, whether outlets should be 42 inches above the floor at the countertop planned for the utility room, how high on the wall the TV will be mounted in the loft with a corresponding outlet, where to put how many outlets at the vanity in the master bath, which ceiling cans are actually integrated units that include LED lighting and ventilation for the bathrooms — item by item, detail by detail, getting it right with the walls open …

Steve from Capstone writes down on the studs exactly which switch controls which run of track lighting planned for the model train room -- north/south gets one switch, and east/west gets a second switch.
Steve from Capstone writes down on the studs exactly which switch controls which run of track lighting planned for the model train room — north/south gets one switch, and east/west gets a second switch.

Separately, Jacquela and Steven met with Dale Markel at Landers Premier Flooring to explore options for wood flooring. Can we save the existing oak? Probably not …

Also separately, Steven approved a quote from Kyle Bacon at Elite Heating & Air Conditioning for what will be come a change order to the HVAC system — adding dampers and thermostats to the master bedroom and office, putting these two rooms into their own heating/cooling zones. This will help to make the master bedroom more comfortable and controllable at night, and help to deal with the heat generated by the computers and other equipment in Steven’s office.

And, Ben Feldt, structural engineer,  reports he walked the framing late last week. He will complete the documents “saying you passed” for the pending inspection by City of Austin.

Cris from Ranserve test fit one of the fiberglass doors -- this is the back door off the kitchen to the back yard. The doors came with brickmould pre-installed by the BMC West at the factory. Ron plans to remove and replace it with PVC trim that cannot rot because it's basically plastic.
Cris from Ranserve test fit one of the fiberglass doors — this is the back door off the kitchen to the back yard. The doors came with brickmould pre-installed by the BMC West at the factory. Ron asks Steven if it’s too ornate for what Steven and Jacquela plan for the house. Yes. Ron plans to remove and replace it with PVC trim that cannot rot because it’s basically plastic.
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Mixing water and electricity

Surprise. Ron has the plumber and the electrician in the house at the same time.

Art and the team from Custom Pluming continue to jackhammer away at the foundation and install PVC pipes. That’s Art in the photo above, leveling the PVC pipe for the drains in the mudroom

While the plumbers are deep in the trenches cut by jackhammers … Sean and his team of electricians are on site, two days early, installing ceiling cans, nailing up blue electrical outlet boxes at proposed locations.

Ron pulled Steve into the kitchen to talk about the ceiling cans over the aisles. There’s a triple-beam almost precisely where the plans call to install three 6-inch LEDs. With help from Sean, we measured it out with two tape measures — the cabinets extend 24 inches from the wall, the aisle runs next to the cabinets, the center of the aisle is just about directly under one of the three beams in the triple beam … but if we turn the cans 90 degrees and slide them all the way over, Sean is able to install the cans over the aisle, one inch closer to the cabinets, putting the light beams from the can overhead and closer to the cooktop and sink, providing more light. And all this aligns with the ceiling cans that will be installed in the adjoining pantry and mudroom, establishing a straight line of overhead lights.

And then we turned 90 degrees to compute the center of the cooktop, extending that line into the center of the island.

Sean, at rear, and Ron, in front, measure out the center line of the cooktop, which determines the alignment of the kitchen island, which in turn determines the alignment of all the ceiling cans above the island and aisles on each side of the island.
Sean, at rear, and Ron, in front, measure out the center line of the cooktop, which determines the alignment of the kitchen island, which in turn determines the alignment of all the ceiling cans above the island and aisles on each side of the island.
Sean, left, and Ron, at back, debate where to put the ceiling cans if the kitchen has 10 extra inches now that the framing is up -- the room is 10 inches wider than calculated in the plans. Jacquela will enjoy the extra space in the kitchen.
Sean, left, and Ron, at back, debate where to put the ceiling cans if the kitchen has 10 extra inches now that the framing is up — the room is 10 inches wider than calculated in the plans. Jacquela will enjoy the extra space in the kitchen.
The plumbers jackhammered the slab in bath 2 to run drain and water supply lines.
The plumbers jackhammered the slab in bath 2 to run drain and water supply lines.

 

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