Dec 21, 2007

I am woman, see me wire

Years ago, I worked for the Appalachia Service Project, doing home repair for low-income folks in the Appalachian Mountains. I learned quite a bit about construction, much of which I've forgotten, and my favorite was always wiring. It's interesting, and it has the best tools. But it's not the kind of construction skill that you find lots of opportunities to use.

So, we just switched our hot water heater from gas to electric. In an attempt to save some $$$, I said I'd wire it myself. The catch was that our electrical panel has plenty of power (200 amps) but a shortage of available spaces for new work. (We're also hoping to finish part of our basement this year, so we'll need to add more curcuits for that, too.) Our electrician came by and suggested we install a new sub-load panel, which creates new spaces for new work. He graciously gave me some pointers, I purchased the materials, and the result is below.

Here is where I attached the 10-3 wire to the water heater. It actually looks very tidy!

Here's our new water heater.

On the left is our existing breaker box, which has far too few spaces for its 200-amp capacity, and too few for a house this size. On the right is the new sub-load panel. I removed a circuit from our now-unused baseboard heater and installed a 60-amp breaker, which I then used as the main for the new panel. Note the large black wire connecting the two panels.

You can see the main wire at the top -- red, black, white, and bare copper. On the left is the 30-amp breaker for the water heater. To its right are 6 spaces just waiting for the new circuits in our basement remodel.

Here is the finished product. And 2 hours after we turned it on, we had hot water!!!


Marie Eldridge said...

You Go Girl!

The McDonalds said...

My respect for you has just gone through the roof. You are my hero! I miss you and you live close. I want to see your new place! Can I invite myself over for coffee after the new year?? :)
Merry Christmas!

Mike said...

Nice, neat, elegant. Plus, it works. Outstanding! You are a real badass (just taking the cover off of a panel makes me sweat).

If I were anywhere near Lexington, I'd buy you a Budweiser.

billy said...


Thanks for all of your hard work in the basement, it definitely feels great to do things for yourself and see the fruits of your labor. I am really proud of you....keep it up.....

Amanda Moore said...

That is incredible -- and completely terrifying to me. Wow.