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While we had the electricians in doing the wiring for the new fans, we also had a few little things done in the kitchen.

Previously, we’d had to string the power cord from the phone across the backsplash to where the coffee pot is plugged in.  Thumbs down.  So we had an outlet added on a panel with a dimmer switch, so the phone could be plugged in right near the phone jack.

The dimmer switch goes to the new lantern alongside the slider.  The deck previously had no light at all, so grilling involved a little guess work, and/or a headlamp.  The lantern has a 60w bulb, so the dimmer is probably overkill.  But if we ever want something brighter, we’ll have a way to tone it down for sitting on the deck.

The outdoor outlet below the lantern is also new.  It has no distinct purpose other than, “it seems like a good and potentially useful idea.”  We have an outlet on the back side of the family room, below the light, but it’s pretty out of the way.  (Read:  requires an extension cord for Christmas lights.)

The spotlight fixture is also new.  We just swapped that ourselves for the cheap and ineffective jelly jar light that was there before.

Not super exciting, but it’s a lot brighter.  We leave the switch (in the family room) on, and let it shut on and off with the motion sensor.  I think we need to angle it more toward the deck, but overall it’s been pretty useful at lighting up the yard.

The other electrical project was back upstairs:  we had a whole house fan installed over the stairs.

Fortunately, the house already had ridge vents and vented soffits, so we didn’t need to install more venting.  That might have been the only easy or fortuitous part about getting this done. First, just getting the fan was a hassle.  Very few stores stock them, and most places were charging upwards of $90 in shipping, and/or had multi-week delivery times.  A far cry from the giant box containing 3 ceiling fans that arrived via free super saver shipping from amazon.com!  We finally tracked one down at a more-or-less-area Lowe’s, but what a pain.  We also needed to figure out ourselves what specs we needed:  size, capacity (in CFM), belt vs. direct drive, etc.  (For anyone considering one, we went with 30″, 5700 CFM, belt driven for our 1860 sf house.)  The guys at Lowe’s looked at us like we had three heads when we asked them.

We also had some difficulty finding someone to do the installation, since whole house fans fell off the popularity charts with the rise of central air.  We ended up hiring two guys to do it; the electrician who did the other fans and fixtures wired it, and then we got a carpenter to do the installation.  In the intervening weeks we talked to a lot of people who told us it couldn’t be done because we have 24 inch on center trusses over the stairs that can’t be cut (true, but you can install around them), people who told us it was a ridiculous project because we already have central air, and people who told us they “just don’t do those anymore.”  All of which was super helpful.

In any event, it did finally go in, and there it is:

All that’s left is trying to figure out how to get at the marks on the ceiling and the walls left by the carpenter’s hand prints.  There are some on the ceiling around the fan, on the wall, and on the far wall over the stairs from the carpenter’s ladder.  I was disappointed by those.  Ah well.  In the summer we’ll be able to turn it on at night and replace all the stuffy air in the house with cool outside air in minutes.  That will be nice.

That wraps up our electrical projects.  With the exception of a little tree surgery work outside that will hopefully be done soon, it will be back to our regularly scheduled DIY around here.

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This will be a brief post, because this project is on the short list of those we opted not to take on ourselves.  Last week we hired an electrician to do the wiring for new ceiling fans in all four bedrooms, and wire the wall switches to control the lighted fans, rather than the outlets they previously controlled.

We put three identical fans in the master, spare, and office bedrooms:
We went with Hunter fans for their reputation for being quiet, and picked a low profile model since our ceilings aren’t particularly high.  I’ve never really loved white ceiling fans, but we went that way anyway because we wanted them to disappear into the ceiling as much as possible.

Since they were 52″ fans, we thought that would be a bit much for the fourth and smallest room (the guest room).  The guest room received the 36″ ceiling fan that had previously hung in the hallway over the stairs instead.

It hasn’t been warm enough to use the fans, except to verify that yes, they work, and yes, they’re quiet.  The lights have been nice, though.

Master lighting before: 

Master lighting after:

Guest Room before:

Guest room after:

I’m sure you get the picture.  From dimly lit to bright!

The office and spare rooms got the same treatment:
  
Obviously these two rooms have a little further to come toward anything that looks finished, but at least now they’re well enough lit that we can see what we’re doing, and what we have to work with.

On the floor in the green room, you can see a whole house fan that is soon to be installed – it will go over the landing/stairs, and we think it’ll be a much more cost effective way to cool the house in the summer when it’s not quite hot enough to need the central air.  The whole house fan was the reason we took the ceiling fan out of the hall to move it into the guest room.  In its place, we put this schoolhouse light:

We were looking for something semi-flush mount, that wouldn’t draw too much attention, was reasonably priced, and had a closed globe so it didn’t collect dust, etc. inside.  Sold.  And it actually looks great!  So win for amazon.com on that one.  Hopefully the whole house fan will go up this week.  Then bring on the warm weather!

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