Thursday, April 1, 2010

Roofing and Electrical

Well there's been a whirlwind of activity on the house lately. Basically, the house is getting it's circulation, respiratory, and nervous systems put in (that's plumbing, cooling and heating, and electrical). Thus, the bare walls are no longer so bare. There's now a whole ton of pipes and tubes and wires running all over the place. If that wasn't enough, they finished the roof in the middle of all this as well.  I decided to break all this down into two posts. The first will focus on roofing and electrical.

Finished Roof (Click image for more photos.)

I'll begin with the roofing since that's the easiest.  There's really not much to say as this went very quickly.  The shingles were delivered and a team of 4 people got it done in a single day.  Wow, that was fast!  You can see in the picture that there is a small square on the back roof that has no shingles.  This is where the chimney for the masonry heater will go.  I'll discuss the details of the masonry heater in a later post.

Onto electrical.  The electrical begins with us needing to make a ton of decisions.  This was done in a previous meeting about a month ago at the electrical contractor's office.  Exactly where do we want electrical outlets and lights and what kind of lights and where should the switches be located and do you want a 3-way or a 4-way or a more-way switch with that.  Yikes!  Who would have thought there would be so many things to consider.  When it was time to start putting all this in, we met again to discuss things as we walked through the house.  This led to several changes.  Once they got the boxes for the switches and outlets in, they asked us to walk through it again and note any changes.  Surprisingly, we did have some additional changes.  All minor things, but nice to get a chance to fix them while it's easy to do so.  It sure takes a lot of cable to wire a house.

Wires galore (Click image for more photos.)

As they were putting in all the cables and receptacle boxes, it was interesting to see how they got things into the SIP walls.  As you might recall, SIPs are pre-fabricated walls with solid insulation built right in.  So how in the world can they put electrical cables in the walls?  Well, the walls come with a pre-drilled hole that goes around the entire wall in a couple of places.  Thus, it is relatively easy to get wire around the walls.  Using a long drill bit allows them to drill up (or down) in the appropriate places where an outlet or a switch is going to go.  Much of this drilling was done before the walls went up.

But once the walls are up and the ceiling is on top, it is basically impossible to drill up or down into one of these panels.  As an example, our microwave is going up under a cabinet and will need to plug in.  The location of this was not known at the time the walls went up and it was not possible to drill a hole for the electrical wire.  So what did they do?  Well, there's this neat little trick whereby a one-inch diameter steel ball is heated up with a blow torch until it is very hot.  Then the steel ball is dropped down in the middle of the wall - right in the middle of the insulation - where it then melts its way down the wall until it comes out into one of the outlet boxes (well, it hits a small piece of wood and drops out onto the floor).  It's quite the application of thermodynamics and mechanics!  I think I can come up with a good homework problem for my physics students from this.

Flaming Ball (Click image for more photos.)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Wow what an education we just got! Really very interesting to see how it all comes to-gether. Loved the "hot"ball and the "smoking" hole. This whole thing is so much fun to follow.We really enjoy the whole thing. Randy and Sharon requested your blog info and we sent it on as well as to your Aunt Charlotte. Thanks David, looking forward to the next step.

Love Mom & Dad

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