Sunday, July 03, 2005

We've got conduit

As many of us have experienced, when you open up a wall in an older building, you are kind of taking your life (or your bank account) into your hands. You often don't know what frightening hidden problem will leap out at you uninvited.

In this vein, we were relieved and not too surprised to find that our building wiring was already in conduit when we opened up the wall. There was some bx flexible conduit that we have replaced. In the City of Chicago, you can run bx for 6 feet or under; anything longer must be conduit. Not sure how this compares with other areas. I suspect other big cities have comparable codes. It makes sense to me that here in Chicago, having had the devastating Great Chicago fire in our history, we would be extra careful.

Having wiring replaced reminds me of getting cavaties filled at the dentist. It's a good thing and it gives you peace of mind, but it's not the most "fun" thing to spend money on. Too bad we can't take x-rays of our home's walls before opening them up! I'd say that getting new wiring is more fun hands down than getting fillings though, definitely.

Anyway, the electrician was here yesterday and did a great job. He did find some old wiring in conduit that we had him replace since the walls were open. He also ran conduit for the outside light and sconce in the vestibule both with electric eyes, and ran wiring for an entry/intercom system for all 3 floors. We were planning to only have the wires run and then add the system later, but after I got a nice bonus at work on Friday, we decided to go for it and will be installing the intercoms and strikes (that buzz the doors open remotely) next week.

Here's a few shots of the work. The colored wires are for the intercom system.

Intercom wiring going upstairs to the 2nd floor unit.

Conduit at top going to the outside light.

And while the electrician was doing his thing with Steve as helper, pulling wires and what not, I was outside starting at 7:30am working on the following:
1. Mowing the lawn (We use a manual push mower and a rake, so this is more involved than it sounds)

2. Removing the monster nails from all the trim for the entry.
3. Stripping a small table I am going to keep on the back porch.

4. Sanding the shelves with the orbital sander. Grits used: 60, 80.120, 220
5. Staining the shelves.

Steve also filed the last bit of countertop and adjusted the cabinet that was slightly off kilter as well as helping me stain and bringing the boards back from the woodshop.

We finished the day at dusk, just in time to see our new light go on. Just to clarify, the wet pavement is from my neighbor's sprinkler; I wish it was from rain as we are in a major drought here. Illinois corn is history this year.


Greg said...

It is interesting that Chicago requires all wire to be in conduit. San Francisco requires this as well. That city also burned to the ground after the '06 earthquake.

Also, print and save those pictures of the inside of the walls. They could come in handy years later if ever have problems or need to change something.

Stephen said...

Hi Greg
Oh!! I see your conduit, and it is made from galvanised steel. That seems like a pesky thing to fit for wiring, but of course is makes for better fire safety.

Down here in Oz, we don't need conduit on domestic wiring -- all cables are cliped to the timber frame. Of course, underground we need conduit, but that is made from orange plastic.


Scott in Washington said...

We are not required to do conduit for inside construction either I don't think, maybe for new construction, I'm not sure. I have found some truly amazingly botched wiring in our walls. It makes me want to gut the house sometimes just to make sure its done correctly.

Jocelyn said...

Greg- we are in the habit of taking photos and drawing maps of open walls. It's nice to have the photos in case we can't decipher our mapping on paper!

jmpottery said...

An electrician here in Oaktown told me that in San Francisco all the wiring must be in conduit. Makes for some very pretty conduit runs. Fortunately, they don't require that in Oaktown..