Thursday

Let's Power Up!



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After updating a couple of rooms in my house I got to the conclusion that I need to know more about Electricity! 
Let’s face it, painting a room, arranging the furniture in it, and accessorizing, all those things are big and create a huge impact! But if you want to go the extra mile … A good lighting plan would make any room look way, waaaay better!
When I updated the kitchen I knew I needed more lighting solutions, one fluorescent fixture in the middle of the room was not enough.
I planned on changing the fluorescent light for a pendant fixture, besides adding spot lights (can lights), under cabinet lighting, installing a new outlet in the kitchen island, and moving the other one to a new location!
My big issue?!  I knew nothing about electricity!  My easiest solution was to give that job to my Mister! J  He is the one who changes the bulbs when they go cuckoo, installs new fixtures, and takes care of the electrical issues in our home! Who better? Right? Well, not so fast!
When I explained to him my Kitchen’s Electrical plan and gave him the honor to tackle that project,  he just gave me that “are you crazy?!” look!  and told me to call for estimates! :(   He was willing to move the outlets and maybe, just maybe install the under cabinet lights, but the can lights for the ceiling, Nope!
The estimates for labor would have taken 10% of my low budget! Not counting that I had to buy the fixtures!
So, I convinced my man to work together, taking our time to learn, do it ourselves, and do it right!   Sure enough he took his time!  6 months!!  He befriended the Master Electrician at our closest home center, who became one of our main sources of information!
Well, this is the First lesson I learned that I wanted to share with you, so we can stop being afraid of Electricity:

Mapping Circuits and Indexing a Service Panel

 Having a map of the circuits in your home will make your electrical repairs easier and safer.  This map will show you all the lights, switches, appliances, etc. connected to each circuit.  Once you have all the circuits on a map you can index the main service panel so next time you are going to change a fixture you know exactly what circuit needs to be shut off.
This job took me about a whole morning to be completed! (About 4 to 6 hours).
You can begin by making a sketch of every room in the house, if you have a blue print that would be much better.  Don’t forget the exterior of your house, attic, garage, hallways, and utility areas.

Something like this would work


I went by floors, it was easier for me; Main Floor, Upstairs and basement.
Indicate the location of the electrical devices on each sketch, switches, appliances, fans, heaters, etc.



I decided to draw my own sketches!!  Look at all those crooked lines!

At the main service panel, number each circuit breaker or fuse.  Turn off all the circuit breakers, but leave the main shutoff in the ON position.

Begin turning on one circuit at a time, you can also check the amperage rating printed on the rim of the fuse.

Go around your house turning on each switch, light, and appliance to identify the ones in that particular circuit, labeling them.

To test all receptacles for power, use a neon circuit tester, checking both halves of the receptacle, indicating which circuit supplies power to each receptacle.  There are times when each half is powered by a different circuit.

On the circuit maps, write the circuit number and voltage.  It would be good to also indicate the amperage rating of each appliance, switch, light fixture, etc.  That would help later on to determine if you can add more charges to that circuit or not. (I cheated! I didn't do that! That would've been a full day checking that stuff!!)




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Tape the final index to the door of the main service panel.  You can add your own descriptions of what goes into each circuit. 
Finally, restore the power to all circuits.

That was my first step and I am glad it's done! I couldn't find things that belong to my number 10 circuit?!  I'm still looking for it! :)
I hope you Power Up! and take this first step too!



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18 comments :

  1. You guys rock! I need to learn more about installing light fixtures myself. Just basic ones. I always leave it to the hubs, but he's gone for months at a time, and that leaves me waiting to get stuff done!
    We tried the can light thing....got all the holes cut, then he ended up having to leave for almost the entire summer and I finally fired someone. Maybe the next house we'll figure it out! Kuddos to you guys! That's awesome!
    --Katie
    @ Creatively Living

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    1. haha. I meant "hired" someone...not fired someone. lol

      --Katie

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  2. Lighting is a big job, isn't it? We are lucky to have an electrician in our extended family so that helps a lot. Good job~it looks like you guys learned a lot! xo Diana

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  3. I did exactly what you are describing in my kitchen. Took down the fluorescent and put in cans and two pendants. I still didn't have the nerve to do switches.. That is next. And now you have inspired me to map my circuits. I haven't done that yet either!

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  4. You two are very smart!! Good job! Thank you for sharing at Potpourri Friday.

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  5. I love this post! I just hung a light fixture last week. I know I need to do this!
    -Revi

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  6. Very clever, you guys did a great job, I love your lights fixtures. Amazing and thanks for sharing. Lighting is not an easy job, I know caus my daughter and her hubby have a lighting installation system business. Enjoy your weekend.
    FABBY

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  7. Wow. That is very thorough. We did something like this showing the different rooms, etc. It's a job. Thanks for showing how to do it, though. :) Best wishes, Linda

    http://twosucculentsisters.blogspot.com

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  8. Christina,
    In additional to the AC and dryer circuits - your box has eight breakers, four on each side. Your 9/10 circuit breaker on the right side has just one circuit. Take a look at it, just one breaker switch. Your other breakers are "piggybacked" and have two circuits on each breaker (2 switches). So there are 15 household circuits - not 16. And that's why you couldn't find anything on #10. Hope this info helps.

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  9. OMG! You are RIGHT!!! You solved my mystery!! How come I didn't see it?! I read your comment and went to see the pic, yes! it's perfectly clear, only one breaker for the 9/10! to double check I went to the basement! of course just the same! My big excuse, I didn't pay close attention when numbering them, adding that it's dark there in the basement! Thanks! THANKS a lot!

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  10. Glad to help! It's sort of a second language here - my Dad and husband are both electricians. :-)
    Your clear photos made it easy to explain to you.
    I'm enjoying your blog, keep up the good work.
    CeeJay

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  11. Good lighting does make all the difference!

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  12. Where did you find your gorgeous light? I have been looking for pendalent lighting and just haven't found any I like but this one is just what I have been looking for!

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  13. Hi Paulette,

    That is the Firefly Pendant Light from CB2. You can click on the Resources Tab at the top of this page for more info.

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  14. CRISTINA ME encanta tu trabajo pero quiero saber donde cuedo conpro la luz colgante de la island me gusta mucho gracias Dios la bendiga a usted y su familia

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  15. donde puedo comprar la luz de la island gracias

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  16. Blala Juhiyi, esa es la Firefly Pendant Light y la puedes comprar en CB2, este es el link: http://www.cb2.com/firefly-pendant-lamp/s487964

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