In the grand scheme of home renovations, the electrical wiring falls pretty low on my personal priority list, as long as it’s all working and not starting any fires. My husband, on the other hand, works as an electrician (among many, many other things) for his full-time employment, and he has seen the nasty after-effects of thinking like mine.
And so, after almost two years working on our house, only a little bit of visible progress has been made on the outside and the visible inside. The attic, basement, and walls, however, bear much evidence of many hours of work. From an exterior motion sensor for the driveway flood light to the panel in the basement, he finally just about has the wires as he likes them—neat, tidy, concise, and sensible. This goal has meant that just about every project remotely connected to anything electrical has taken a fair bit longer than expected, since he’s done all the wiring tidying in whichever area he was working. Pretty soon, we’ll be ready for some more inside work…inside the livable areas of the house, that is.
Besides his contentment and peace of mind, another of the benefits that I see in all this time spent in the attic and basement is that our future projects will be much easier, since he now knows what’s going on with the wires. A good bit of the delay in many of the past projects has been the time spent, of necessity, in figuring out why there were three different wires all feeding into one box or where the gray wire went. Already, we’ve started to see the fruits of his labors, with the last project being much simpler than many that have gone before.
It all started the first day we were in the house after settlement. We were still a few months shy of our wedding, and my folks had come over to help for the day. While they were painting, my then fiancé had me help him get all the outlets and light switches matched up with the appropriate breakers in the main panel. Although I didn’t quite see the value of all that time, then, I’ve many times since been very thankful that he started with that, with no furniture in the way and nothing else that had to be watched (like the 1-year-old we now have to keep track of, for example). Where I would have jumped right in to work on cosmetics, ripping up stained carpet and tearing down nasty ceiling tiles, he started with the guts, and life has been happier because of it.
He’s made many improvements to the electrical aspect of our home, moving switches that were in ridiculous places, installing a timer for our outside lights, and replacing the thermostat with an all-the-bells-and-whistles version. Probably my favorite of his improvements is the addition of the motion sensor to the light in the laundry room. Although I didn’t give a hearty assent to his suggestion, thinking it would be more nuisance than help, I’ve become a complete convert, to the point that I now walk into other rooms and am surprised when the light doesn’t automatically come on. Ah! the blessings and curses of modern technology….