Wiring the Upstairs From the Downstairs

June 12, 2010


I worked on a small project Friday. Well, it was a BIG project– lots of sawing, drilling holes, running up and down stairs and ladders… all for three outlets in the upstairs bedroom. :-p But it’ll be worth it. I’m finally getting electricity in this house! Hopefully by autumn, the entire house will be completely wired.

So here’s a small pictorial story of how it goes.

First, I have to meticulously run the wiring, from the basement through the first floor and up to the second floor. Because the second floor walls are closed (and have the lathe and plaster), I have to measure the first floor studs to locate every wall cavity, then measure the upstairs wall to match the cavity exactly. I then drill holes and run the cable. Lots of work for every measly outlet.

Wiring 1

I break through the plaster. Dirty and messy. Some holes are larger than others, because I may find some extra wood in the way, or I need to enlarge the hole for whatever reason. Today, my holes were pretty small. Yay!

Wiring 2

Saw through the lathe. Install the new work box, and run the first cable through. Lots of running up and down stairs and up and down the ladder to perfectly situate the cable, staple it to the wood, and run another cable in.

Wiring 3

My work place. I take my yellow caddy with me wherever I go. šŸ™‚

Wiring 4

I strip the wires and make little loops on the ends. This is the end of the line of outlets for this circuit, so I only have one cable to work on here.

Wiring 5

Here’s a middle-of-the-run outlet section; notice it has a lot more wiring (one for the feed, one for the outlet here, one leading to the next outlet in the circuit). I attach pigtail wires that attach to other wires in the box, to continue the circuit along a run of outlets. As a general rule, I always wrap the ends with electrical tape, to prevent arcing. I don’t expect arcing, but it’s just another little thing to do for safety’s sake.

Wiring 6

I attach the pigtail wires to the cable wires in the work box using some fancy new devices, called “push-in connectors.” I like them because I don’t have to mess around with twisting three groups of three wires each and then capping each group with a huge wire nut (I find it hard to twist the wires neatly, and I find it very hard to cram all the wire nuts in the box). These pigtail connectors are really handy.

Wiring 7

Finally, I ram all the wires in the box. My least favorite chore of the job. šŸ™ I have small, sensitive fingers, and find it difficult and painful to push the wires in. It’s a tough job for me.

Wiring 8

Forgive me, I didn’t snap an end photo of the outlet in the box! Maybe next time. šŸ˜‰

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6 Responses to “Wiring the Upstairs From the Downstairs”

  1. hideawayhill Says:

    I’m impressed! I would have to hire somebody for that. šŸ™

  2. blueyes Says:

    you know after that reno you will be an expert renovator and could get a job doing it for someone elses house šŸ™‚

  3. Janiss Says:

    That looks like a lot of work – I can only imagine what it would cost to hire someone to do that. So you saved a bunch of money – plus got the satisfaction of doing it yourself, and doing it well too! Your work looks very neat… and having lived in a long line of old houses, I’ve seen some pretty gnarly electrical work.

  4. Marg Says:

    Good gravy, I am totally exhausted reading all this. It is time you took another break. One thing about doing this yourself, you know it is getting done right. If you want something done right, do it yourself.
    That does looks like a terrific job done. Now Livvy can have a TV upstairs to keep her company. LOL

  5. Lin Says:

    It looks like you do nice, neat work! I still can’t believe you are doing this yourself! Does your town have an inspector that comes out then? Do they have a problem with you doing it yourself and you not being a qualified electrician? I think we have rules about that here–you have to have a licensed electrician do the work.

    • Mrs. Mecomber Says:

      Thanks for your encouraging words! It’s a whole lot of work, but it’s worth it.

      Lin, doing electricity is not difficult at all. The hardest part is probably making sure you don’t overload a circuit with too many receptacles, and the scariest part (at first) is reaching into the electric panel to supply the circuits with power. Electricity is pretty cut and dry. It would be a lot more fun if I didn’t have to hack through plaster, though. I hate that part of it.

      If you open up a wall to work on electric, a homeowner has to get that work inspected. But if you add an outlet to an existing wall (such as I have done here), you do not need to get it inspected. I do still let the inspector know what I’ve done, so that the town has a record of all the improvements we’ve done. This increases the value of the home.