Friday, December 12, 2014

Sandy's Electrical Repair Service

Hello again. Today we are doing some electrical work in the house. This isn't serious stuff - just changing out a light fixture and replacing some electrical plugs. I am going to supervise, of course.

First up... yes... that is an ugly brass light fixture!! It is in our dining room and it is... ugly. It is from... like... the Middle Ages... or something.

Beary ugly!

Did I mention ugly yet?

Anyhow... Mama got the scoop on a free brushed-nickel fixture that someone was getting rid of. It has nice clean lines and... there is more to it than what you see, but the glass bits are getting washed.

So... first off... we need to take the old one down.

Before you do anything... you turn off the power...

 Then you go to the breaker panel and turn off the breaker for that fixture/switch. When we moved in, our breaker panel was beary poorly labeled but Mama and her partner (through trial and error) figured out what was what... so this is easy. Switch off Breaker #2.

There we go... and the light fixture is gone!! It was a bit harder than it looks... someone had painted the threads of the screw thingie that holds the fixture up so... there was some muttering and cursing.

And now we connect up the new one. I would have liked more action photos but Mama was having a hard time holding me, the camera, the screwdriver, the flashlight... not to mention Mama's partner holding up the fixture!

Anyhow... then you phone downstairs to Grampa who has the breaker panel in his suite and say "turn it on please!" Just to check that it works. Then you have him turn it off while you get everything else connected... and then turn it back on again!

And there you go... it looks pretty good I think... much better than brass!! We are still playing with the height of it... there is a bit too much chain so we'll see what we do...

Part 2 of this electrical adventure was... replacing some electrical outlets. Plugs were a bit too loose in them, which isn't a good thing... and kept falling out. This was Breaker #32...

The wires went right into the back of the outlet so we knipped them off...

And now we need to strip a bit of the plastic sheathing off the wires so the copper is showing...

Hmm... I see why the old outlet was't working too well...

The new one is on the left (duh)... and the old one is one the right... First off, it is painted a bit... and second... there are plastic bits missing beneath the little "mouth" opening...

There we go... it's all connected... now we radio down to Grampa - he switches the breaker, we test the shredder (it works) and everything gets switched off again so we can shove all the wiring back in the wall.

There we go... except... the new outlet is white and the plate cover is beige...

Let's see what's in the electrical supply box...

Hmmm... every plate under the sun, but no white one for what we want!

I think someone needs to keep a better inventory!

In the end... we did use one of the new beige ones because the old plate was dirty, painted and it was using a wood screw to hold the plate to the outlet. That's just wrong... see the new screw on the right - that's what they should look like - a metal screw!

There we go!! One down and one more to go...

That last one went quicker but it was a tight space so I let Mama handle it herself....

The other plug was... if anything... even worse than the first one... it was completely painted white!! Ugh.

And then the breakers all get turned on again... Beary easy!!! Do you help with little repairs around your place?? I know Buttons the Bear is in full-blown renovation mode so he could probably tell us all sorts of stories!

Post Script...
There was a question about the possibility that the light fixture was a back alley deal. Nothing quite so dramatic. Up here, we have something along the lines of Craigslist or Kijiji called Used[cityname] - like UsedVictoria, UsedVancouver etc... Same idea. And so... this guy posted that he had a free brushed nickel light fixture!! So Mama phoned and left a voicemail and sent an email and... she was first one out of the gate! The guy phoned back... they live about 5 minutes away... so Mama jumped in the truck (without me) and zoomed off. It was a driveway deal - handshake, grins, thank you's etc... They are "upgrading" to LED fixtures... and hate to throw things away. Excellent! At least we have upgraded from hideous brass!!


  1. We have that EXACT same ugly fixture hanging in our house! Sandy, when can I arrange for you to supervise the removal of it at our place?

    Seems that you are quite the accomplished electrician although part of me wishes you would have to go down some back alley, do a secret handshake, trade a pound of salmon for some electrical outlets, and then met a mysterious character at midnight to get the new fixture. Oh well, I guess every adventure can't involve back alley bread or lawnmower deals.

    1. Aren't those fixtures ugly?? Ours has been an eyesore since we moved in last year... but now it is gone! It wasn't a back alley deal... just a driveway deal (I posted a postscript above)... no salmon required!

    2. Cool deal that you got it for free! Perhaps you can put the brass one on craigslist and see who picks it up. Maybe I will convince my roommates to drive up to Vancouver, cross over on a ferry, drive to your house and pick it up so we can have an extra one, that way our house can have even more brass :)

    3. Too late! We took it to the ReStore (Habitat for Humanity) and donated it there... Did you know they have exactly the same light fixture except in brushed nickel? It still looks a bit goofie! Given all the brass in your house, maybe you should get your roomates a tin of Brasso! :)

    4. I am glad habitat took it, the restore by our place is kind of picky.

    5. Mama says she was half-thinking they would say "no" but they took it quite happily. Whew!

  2. Wow!! We'd never think to do stuff like that - Andrea just calls the Managing Agents who get someone round to fix stuff and then the landlord pays for it. Although we have changed the occasional lightbulb.....!!

    1. Oh yeah - that is nice too! But we own the house sooo... have to be out own Managing Agents. I asked Mama where she got such handiness from and she says it was from her Mama... who got it from her Papa. He was an engineer back in Germany and he could fix and build anything!

  3. Replies
    1. I could open my own Home Handibear business!

    2. Handy Sandy, the Electrical whizz-bear!!!

  4. Wow, that looks great Sandy! You sure are helpful around the house. Papa's laptop died last week…it's best we don't repeat the exclamations he was saying. We're going to help pick out a new Apple desktop computer over Christmas; you're electrical expertise would sure come in handy at our place!