DIY Electrical–Part 2

IMG_1686Well, it’s taken a little longer than anticipated (doesn’t everything?) but I’ve completed my electrical upgrade! Read on for details…

I had offered money to the kids for completing my trench, but their progress was slow and (once school started) they weren’t around much to work on it. Once I ‘dug in’ it took me a couple days of free time. Fortunately, I never hit solid rock, so going was easy and I reached 22+ inches along the whole 20 foot length. Whew!IMG_1682

August was hot, so I only dug early or late in the day. However, once it got hot outside, it was still bearable in the shop. Here, I installed two circuits as planned, but increased the number of overhead locations to 4, which is every 8 ft. or so. I was sure to run the wire across the beams/joists, never spanning large gaps. This will ensure anything I store in the rafters will never snag a wire.IMG_1770

With the trench dug, I went and bought a grounding rod, 2” conduit for the AC, and 1” for Cat5e/other desires. I was able to get a scrap piece of wire from a local electrician for <$40. This turned out to be more than I needed, so I’ll be donating the rest to a friend who needs power to his shop.IMG_1777

I spent a fun day positioning, cutting, gluing, and installing this conduit, and my electrician mounted the meter-main box, so I IMG_1989pulled the wire up inside it. I got some pull-line, and was able to blow it through the 1” with a wad of paper towel tied around a nut, and my little shop vac. Pulling two Cat5e cables was easy after that, and will deliver internet to my shop. I also ran another line for my phones, as that box was relocated.

Once I had the conduit in, I had notified my electrician, so he could make time for me. IMG_2088This took a few weeks, which tried my patience, but allowed me to start another project. The cutover day was scheduled on a Monday, so I pre-froze several jugs of water to help keep my fridge & freezer cool while the power was shut off.

IMG_2090I typically don’t schedule any appointments on Mondays, so that left me flexible. Good thing too, as I had to go sign a sheet with the power company. They were concerned I was adding a new load, when I was actually just restoring previous service to the shop (which I’d been running off an extension cord). I explained that, signed document as such, and we proceeded to disconnect and reconnect my 200-amp service. Now I have 100 of that available to my new sub-panel in the shop!

The inspector made us drive a second ground rod, and separate the inside ground, but otherwise things went well. In all (after my sweat-equity) the project cost me about $1,400 in supplies, labor, & permit. I’m so relieved and grateful that it’s done, now I can fill in the trench and get ready for winter. Enjoy the pics!

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