Beginning a journey to live more simply…

Archive for the ‘Electrical’ Category

Air Conditioning.

Saturday, June 11, 2011:

We should begin by sharing that we tend to pride ourselves in holding off as long as we can each summer, closing up the windows and finally turning on the AC only about the time books on our shelves start curling in the Southern Illinois humidity. We like to challenge ourselves to conserve energy as well as to not become too spoiled, opting to ‘tough it out’ for weeks into the hot season.

Having said that, we always knew that we’d need to figure out how to address the heat and humidity concerns in the tiny house, but it was always a bit of an afterthought. While we put a great deal of thought and planning into many other aspects of this project, the air conditioning was something that we left for figuring out ‘later’.

Later arrived, and in full force.

As we’ve been topping the high 90’s with stifling humidity this week, it occurred to us that it may be time to solve the airconditioning needs in the tiny house. Of immediate concern was electrical consumption and space. We are operating on a 30 amp system, and every electrical component we bring in has to be carefully chosen to stay within our supply means. As well, the thought of giving up the limited space we have for a creature comfort has been a tough sell.

We had originally thought that it would be a good idea to utilize a small window unit placed in the storage loft window. Upon ordering our windows, however, we quickly realized that the loft windows were too small and wouldn’t allow for an A/C unit. The thought of blocking a ‘great room’ window felt like too much sacrifice, so we experimented with a stand alone unit.

We picked up a 9 amp, 10,000 btu portable air conditioning unit thinking that it would be nice to be able to tuck it under a desk and simply run the vent hose out a window. The concept was great in theory, but once in the tiny house the small portable unit was HUGE. The vent pipe was enormous, and the window venting adaptor took up almost as much space as a window unit.

The portable option was looking like the greater of the two evils so we traded it in for the smallest window unit we could find, a 5,000 btu unit by LG. We placed the unit into a ‘Great’ room window and have been pleasantly surprised with how little space it actually took up. And, at 4.5 amps, we are quite pleased with how well it will fit within our 30 amp parameters..

While we probably could tough it out each summer, addressing the humidity inside the tiny house will be key. After all, air conditioning is not just for creature comfort, but will help us minimize mold, mildew, and curly books.

O.K., it will also be nice not to sleep in a blazing hot loft as well…

A great many thanks to Larry Davis for helping us place the window unit. We’ve added that to the growing list of things we’d never done before this project!


Bathroom complete, Power ON!

Sunday, January 23rd, 2011:

Finished the last two bathroom walls, completed the electrical work, and put the sleeping loft walls up.

The aromatic Red Cedar from the bathroom is filling the tiny house with the most pleasant smell, and the lights are filling it with the most pleasant glow! Today, the electrical work is officially a wrap. We’ve learned such a great deal throughout this phase of the project and, until now, had no idea how extremely satisfying it is to flip a switch and see that somewhere a light goes on -because you wired it to do just that! My, what we’ve taken for granted before learning what it actually takes to make things work…

Officially broke ground on the next large project: The sleeping loft. The end walls are up, and we’re ready to begin building the ‘upstairs’ closets and storage areas.

Exterior electrical fixtures.

Friday, January 21st, 2011:

Took advantage of the daylight over lunch today, putting in the two exterior GFI outlets and the porch coach light!

We wanted to have access to power for any future outside needs, so we put in an exterior weather-proof outlet box on the porch as well as one next to the tongue of the trailer at the other end of the tiny house. We put a GFI outlet in each of the boxes to provide some protection as they will be exposed to rain and other outdoor conditions. Sure we’ll find them handy later on down the road…

Continuing the Electrical Work.

Thursday, January 20th, 2011:

Alex, our electrician friend, was able to swing by briefly this afternoon and make sure that the breaker panel box was good to go, and to wire the exterior 30 amp plug into the main feed line for us.

Installed the lights, GFI outlets, and switches in the Kitchen after work.

Getting another step closer to having electricity flowing through the tiny house!

Our ongoing gratitude goes out to Alex Mitrevski for his time, teaching, and expertise!

Lights and Cover Plates…

Tuesday, January 18th, 2011:

Spent a little time after work this evening putting in the kitchen wall sconce lights, a couple more outlets, and installed some cover plates. One step closer to wrapping up the electrical work!

Starting to wrap up electrical.

Monday, January 17th, 2011: Martin Luther King Day.

Began to hook up and install light switches, lights, and electrical outlets this evening!

A great deal of thanks go out to our neighbor and friend, Alex Mitrevski, for his time and expertise. He has been there every step of the way, from laying out and planning our electrical system, to running the wires, to installing the panel box. He’s a patient and effective teacher: we’ve learned a great deal from him. Thanks Alex!

Sealing up the Wheel Wells.

Tuesday, November 23rd, 2010:

Spent some time after work to address the wheel wells and to tie up a few more loose ends.

The wheel wells are a spot in the tiny house that open up right to the outside, and thus need to be well sealed and insulated. Our strategy to deal with this vulnerability point is to use high expanding spray foam (Great Stuff). It provides both a water and varmit/insect-proof barrier as well as sound insulation for an area that is pretty directly exposed to the temperatures outside.

Also tidied up the last bit of electrical lines and boxes as well as finished the framing on the canned-goods pantry.

Tying up loose ends…

Thursday, November 18th, 2010.

Took advantage of some free time today to tackle some of the smaller projects that are a bit tedious, but needed attention none-the-less. Chief among them, cleaning up all of the electrical wiring, and securing the wires in their boxes. Next came more spray foam to continue sealing up gaps, then the trimming of yesterday’s spray foam around the windows. Small steps, but steps that allow the project to continue moving forward!

Sunday, November 7th: Siding the Front Loft Gable and Starting the Caulking Project…

Today Gabby put the Cedar siding up on the front loft gable while I began caulking the other end of the tiny house. We wrapped up the day by painting the weather treatment on the siding and the rest of the porch.

Before we shut down for the night, The Electrician-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named stopped by and hooked up the five circuits we wired the other evening to the breaker box. We are setting the tiny house up to run on a 110 volt, 30 amp system -allowing us to be able to plug into either a camp ground or just an extension cord running from a friend’s house.

Thanks anonymous electrician friend!

Wednesday, October 27th: Running the wiring!

Putting up the siding a few weeks ago really made this project feel real for us for the first time. We had that same feeling again this evening as we sat back and admired the tangled mess of wiring now poking through all of our electrical outlet boxes…

A friend, who wishes to remain anonymous, has been offering us his professional electrician skills and got us started on the wiring. Lots of holes were drilled throughout the evening and lots of wiring was run.

We used 250′ of 14-2 wire for the majority of our outlet and light boxes, about 20′ of 14-3 for an area that we wanted to control with switches in two different locations, about 10′ of 12-2 to provide a dedicated circuit for our washer/dryer combo unit, and 25′ of 8-3 as our feed from the outside. All of this is fed through a small 125 amp pannel box utilizing 4 15-amp breakers and 2 20-amp breakers.

Many thanks to Eric Brennan and the Electrician-who-must-not-be-named for their help this evening! Next step: installing the outlets and switches!

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