RonO (rono_60103) wrote,

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Minor Home Improvement Success

Yesterday, I started to clean (or at least de-junk) the garage. Part of the motivation was to get rid of the freezer that Tara didn't even know was still plugged in and full of food, in preparation for getting a replacement. After I hauled the freezer and emptied a few boxes that were sitting out there since we moved in in 2002 (more on those later), I put down a couple of home-made pallets left by the previous owner at the end of the garage near the door to the house where a freezer should go.

Now, I don't know when we'll get a freezer to replace the one that will be thrown out on Tuesday, but I would like to. After putting down the pallets, I looked over the situation and remembered why the old freezer got put where it did instead of where it should have -- there was no outlet over there.

After Tara learned what I did to the garage she suggested that I throw out an old cabinet that had been serving, poorly, as a shelf. It, however, needed replacement. So I ran up to Lowes. While there, I started thinking about the outlet problem. At first I figured I could solve it with an extension cord. But then I decided that it really should have an outlet. Finally it occurred to me that a freezer should probably be on an independent circuit.

So I picked up the supplied I thought I'd need. A new 20 amp breaker, five feet of conduit, fifteen feet of wire a new junction box and an outlet.

When I got home I realized I had goofed in two key ways. First, I got the wrong kind of breaker for my service panel. Second, the run I needed to span was at least 10 feet for the conduit and well over fifteen feet for the wire.

This morning I went back to Lowes and got the correct breaker -- and another GFCI breaker for the other circuit in the garage -- another ten feet of conduit -- in two five foot lengths since I couldn't get ten feet into my car safely -- and some more hanging hardware.

When I got home I discovered that the existing box that I was going to extend from only had half-inch punch outs, and I had 3/4 inch conduit. So I ran over to Ace and got a new box, and decided to replace the broken outlet while I was at it. When I got home I realized that I had bought another box without 3/4 inch punch outs and had to go back to Ace to exchange it. Finally, I got to work on the project proper.

I had hung most of the conduit before I had gone to Ace, but I still had to pull the wires (which turned out harder than I had hoped, and the hardest pull was the six inches into the service panel from the outlet and junction box just below it). Once the wires were pulled I shut down my Linux server and then the master power and replaced the breaker and added the new one. From there everything went smoothly, with one small glitch -- I punched out the wrong slot in the cover for the service panel and had to move the new breaker. All of the outlets worked, and passed GFCI (except for the one on the ceiling which I didn't test).

I then cleaned everything up. (Unlike when I'm fixing my computers, I always close up most electrical stuff before I turn it back on, and there was no way I was going to turn the master breaker back on until I had closed the service panel. I was nervous enough taking the cover off without knowing for sure that turning off the master breaker would fully disengage the panel leaving no exposed, hot, wires.

So now I can add "added a new circuit to the service panel" to my fairly sort list of home improvement accomplishments. Now, maybe one day I'll tackle adding an unswitched outlet to the switched position in our bedroom so I can get rid of the extension cord that the TV plugs into.

Tags: home improvement

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