DIY Bathroom Electrical

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Job

Fix the incomprehensible vertical of 1-gang electrical switches in the master bathroom. Run some wire to those spots we want power; yank out the wire from the places we don’t. Also put in the ceiling fan.

Safety

A current tester is highly recommended so that you don’t electrocute yourself. This is critical. Don’t electrocute yourself. I also recommend a clean work area. Bathrooms are small spaces and packing too much stuff in them while you are renovating because you don’t want materials everywhere can cause tripping hazards. If, like us, you’re trying ot keep the tools and materials localized and not over the entire house, make sure to clean up (sweep) regularly to at least remove the crud.

Tools

  • reciprocating saw
  • a hammer (I recommend the Stanley Fatmax 14 oz framing hammer)
  • screwdriver
  • Construction garbage bags for cleanup
  • current tester
  • a black marker to mark your wires

Materials

  • 2 2-gang electrical boxes
  • fan vent kit
  • bathroom fan
  • 2 gauge electrical wire
  • Can of foam

Job Plan

The Electrical

  1. Test and turn off the power to the bathroom.
  2. Test again.
  3. Tear out the wall to access the electrical boxes. You may feel you don’t need to do this. You do.
  4. Test with a current tester,
  5. Unscrew each box one a time, remove the ground, cut where required, detach boxes from the wall.
  6. Mark the wires as you know them currently.
  7. Follow the wires to their logical end (back to the panel; over to a receptacle, down the hall to the other bathroom, etc.)
  8. Place junction boxes as needed (we need at least one to connect the GFIs of the two bathrooms together.
  9. Pull wire that is not needed.
  10. Remove all the boxes.
  11. Place new boxes.
  12. Place new wire as needed.
  13. Rough in the boxes and the wire.

Notes

I had a lot of help on this job. My dad is a licensed electrician and has been doing this work for a number of years. I have worked with him since I was a teenager and I am still always impressed with his breadth of knowledge in this field. Sometimes I get pangs of guilt when I refuse to  fix his computer or put it off for weeks because he’s always there helping me with stuff like this. But then I remember if I were him I would be rewiring my house backwards and upside down then calling him to fix it when the house was on fire all the while claiming that Leviton must have sold me a faulty product that made the house catch fire.

The Vent Fan

  1. Find the spot in your log cabin that looks like you can cut through.
  2. Get the reciprocating saw.
  3. Give’er.
  4. Try to mush through the vent fan kit.
  5. Get the reciprocating saw.
  6. Give’er again.
  7. Once the hole accepts the vent with minimal crimping and cramping use the can of foam to insulate, secure the vent cover on the outside and use aluminum tape to fasten the flexible vent tube to rigid exterior vent.
  8. Leave it dangling there because you still need to frame out the ceiling where the vent fan will actually go.
  9. Finish your day by ripping up some subfloor because you haven’t done that yet.

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