Down to the Wire

Electrical progress is slow. A task that seems simple can take a frustratingly long time to complete. Today for instance we spent all morning pulling three cables out to the septic system.

Terry pulls one cable through the septic conduit.

Terry pulls one cable through the septic conduit.

As before, we started by sucking a string through each conduit. With the string we pulled a sturdier rope, and with the rope we pulled the cables themselves. Here was our first problem: until Todd regraded the backyard last week, the septic system was completely underwater, and the conduits remained partially filled. So before we even tried the string, Colin switched the vacuum to “blow” and forced out as much water as possible. Second problem: where to attach the vac? The conduits make a sharp turn to enter the basement, and we had to use copious amounts of tape to connect the larger-diameter hose and achieve good suction. The alternative was to carry the vac out to the septic tanks… we had enough extension cord, but that just seemed silly.

The conduit runs mostly underground from the house to the septic. Cables are laid out behind Terry.

The conduit runs from the house to the newly buried septic. Cables are laid out behind Terry.

Third problem: lots of sweeps (aka 90-degree bends) in the conduits. A bendy tube is much harder to suck an object through, and we had a bugger of a time getting our string to pass the last series of sweeps. We tried pulling back for extra momentum, changing the size of the “mouse”, opening and closing the back of the final sharp turn. At wit’s end, we finally did the silly thing – we dragged the shop vac and cord across the yard and sucked from the septic end. Traveling the right way through the junctions this time, our beleaguered string finally made it. All that remained was the tedious (and physically intense) business of pulling 200 feet of rope and then cable through each pipe, then across the basement ceiling to the electrical panel. Once Colin wires up the circuit breakers, we can wash our hands of this septic challenge.

Through the basement ceiling to the electrical panel.

Through the basement ceiling to the electrical panel.

I think Colin is wiring the septic alarm here. He'll correct me if I'm wrong.

I think Colin is wiring the septic alarm here. He’ll correct me if I’m wrong.

On the other hand of the spectrum, wiring a room is rapid and fun. Once you know where the outlets go on a circuit, you thread cable through the wall from one outlet to the next, cut it so a fist’s width sticks out of each box, and hold the cables fast by stapling them to the studs. Usually you have to drill holes through the studs, but our double-wall construction gives us a wide-open space on the exterior walls. Terry and I made quick work of wiring the upstairs bedrooms, sometimes threading the cable over the ceiling to minimize the material needed. For a closet geek and mathematician like myself, it was a neat optimization problem.

Threading through the ceiling upstairs. Lots of outlets and cables visible in the background.

Threading through the ceiling upstairs. Lots of outlets and cables visible in the background.

Several tasks are happening in parallel right now. Stay tuned for reports on air-sealing the mudroom and building the wraparound porch!

Advertisements

One thought on “Down to the Wire

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s