Starting the Wiring

In exciting news we’ve finally started the first fix of this years major renovation project. We’ve been working on the middle of our house, turning what was once our main living room into a hallway (which meant moving the stairs), a snug, and then upstairs changing our old master bedroom and what was the smallest third bedroom into an office, Ewan’s new bedroom and the landing.

It’s been eight months of major renovation, living with make shift stair cases, surrounded by builders dust and quite often with no windows, but it feels amazing to have finally got to the stage where we’re running new cables.

I mentioned in last week why so much planning had gone into figuring out how to wire-up this section of the house, but long story short we have some of the house (kitchen and bathroom) on old wiring that needs to stay that way for the next couple of years, some of the house (extension) on the brand new wiring and then this section currently on the old wiring but needing switching to new. To over complicate all of this, the new distribution board is in our (finished!) living room so this part of work meant we needed to run all the cables for this part of work under our (also finished!) bedroom floor, and down the bit of trunking we’d plastered behind the living room wall!

To do this, we’d need to pull both the bedroom floorboards up and the sideboard away from the wall which meant there was no where upstairs or downstairs particularly safe for the kids so this part of the job needed to happen as quickly as possible.

In anticipation of all of this, we spent most evenings (and I’ll apologise now for these photos – work in the evening in autumn means no natural light for nice photos) the week before running lots of cables:

  • 2 from the kitchen for the ovens and hobs (we’re not doing the kitchen yet but we need to have the oven run through the middle bit of the house before it all gets plastered up)
  • 1 from the airing cupboard
  • 2 cables for the upstairs ring main (one to the ‘first’ socket on this main and one to the ‘last’)
  • 2 cables for the downstairs main
  • 1 cable for the upstairs lighting
  • 1 cable for the downstairs lighting.

All of these cables run under our bedroom floor, through the stud wall between Ewans room and the landing, and then they either go to the relevant socket or lighting pendant or they go up the side of Ewans wall in trunking into the attic where they’re terminated and made safe with a junction box, ready for us to drop down into the final section of the house:

The trunking all these wires pass through. The wall will be built out to cover these.

We’ve fitted the initial sockets in the upstairs and downstairs ring mains to make sure these ends of the cables are safe and we’ve also surface mounted to sockets in the kitchen. These sockets are part of the downstairs ring main (unlike the rest of the kitchen which is on the old wiring) and when we come to do the kitchen we’ll break into these sockets and run the rest of the kitchen from them. We’ll also bury the cables and back boxes in the wall at that point too.

Finally when all of the cables had been run and made safe, we lifted the floorboards and moved the living room sideboard and dragged all of the cables through before connecting them up in the distribution board. We did this in a record time of around two hours making sure we had one of us downstairs to herd the kids away at all times!

The next job with the wiring will be to remove all of the old wires from the middle section of the house, and that will mean we can finally remove the old distribution board that the house is running on. At that point we’ll run all of the new cables for all of the new sockets (obviously we want all of the wires out of the way first to save confusion!).