Electrical

Collaborative Electrical Rewire – Part 6 : Day 4 – Testing, Adjustments & Finalising

Thursday 22nd December 2016

As Sam predicted – living with things for a week was beneficial and allowed time for reflection and spotting anything that had been missed. It enabled me to figure out that a slightly different arrangement regarding the hallway & landing light switches would be much more useful and intuitive.

I ran through the layout in my minds eye, thinking through the way one naturally navigates the house and where would be best to control which lights; then jotted down a quick diagram to help visualise the layout & think about potential alterations to the wiring.

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Current:
‘Bedroom’ switch :  hall and landing.
‘Bathroom’ switch : landing and bathroom.
Hall Switch : hall and landing.
Proposed:
‘Bedroom’ switch : landing.
‘Bathroom’ switch : hall and landing.
Hall switch : hall and landing.
Hallway/Landing light switch arrangement
Sam agreed that this made sense & wouldn’t be too difficult to achieve. We just needed to extend the hallway 3 core cable that currently leads from the hall to the switch outside the front bedroom switch, to the switch outside the bathroom. We would then install a pull cord inside the bathroom for that light.
Lobby Light :
I felt it made sense to add in a lobby light as well to cast a decent light near the front door. Sam explained that we could run these cables in preparation & that in total you need four cable runs to wire up a two way switch:
  • A “feed in” (Twin + Earth (T+E) wire that goes from the CU to the ceiling rose 1)
  • A “feed out” (T+E wire that goes from ceiling rose 1 to ceiling rose 2)
  • A “Loop” (T+E wire that goes from ceiling rose 1 to 2way switch 1)
  • A “Strapper” (3 core wire that goes from 2way Switch 1 to 2way Switch 2)

 

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The lounge ceiling had been overboarded with plasterboard at some point & a section of cornice replaced with a precast section (the rest of the lounge cornice was run in situ using the same lime plaster used throughout the house) Feeding the cables through this area to the lobby was slightly more awkward than elsewhere, due to the damaged laths that were poking up which kept catching cables and arms!

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We had previously forgotten to add a socket in the landing cupboard where the internet router & phone was located, so we took the cable currently running from the consumer unit to the front bedroom socket, and redirected it into the cupboard. We ran a new 2.5mm twin & earth cable from the landing cupboard socket (now the 1st in the radial) to the front bedroom socket next to the door (now the 2nd socket in the radial).

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Its dusty work under these floorboards!

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…with plenty of cobwebs….

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It wasn’t us who cut those boards with this way… I would always stagger any cuts to minimise the visual impact… and preferably avoid cutting any altogether!

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Helpful notes in situ to remind us of remaining to-do’s as we move around!

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This is the new single gang, 2-way switch on the landing, outside the front bedroom. The cables are as follows :

  • The thinner cable above on the right is the “Loop” (1.5mm T+E wire) that comes from landing ceiling rose.
  • One of the thicker cables above the switch is the “Strapper” (1.5mm 3 core wire that goes from this switch to one at the top of the stairs) allowing 2-way control of the landing ceiling rose.
  • The other two thicker cables are effectively ‘bypassing’ this switch as I understand it – the cable above is an ‘extension’ of the original strapper cable from the hallway switch, which now continues over to the switch at the top of the stairs to allow 2-way control of the hallway ceiling rose.

 

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The other landing two gang switch outside the bathroom is a modular ‘grid’ type switch since this needed to have an intermediate switch for three way switching of the landing ceiling rose, in addition to a two-way switch for the hallway light

  • The 1.5mm 3-core cable underneath is a strapper that goes to the hallway switch, allowing 3-way control of the landing ceiling rose
  • One of the 1.5mm 3-core cables above is a strapper that goes to the switch outside the front bedroom
  • The other 1.5mm 3-core runs via the switch outside the bedroom, to the hallway switch, allowing 2-way control of the hallway ceiling rose.

 

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The ‘loop’ cable for the bathroom wall light was re-routed inside the bathroom to a pull cord. Due to the roof leak and the lack of integrity in some of the ceiling timbers, we attached the pull cord to a block on the door lintel for now.

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There were a lot of cables to fit into this single gang back-box with a triple gang faceplate for the hallway switch, but Sam somehow managed it! He ensured that the switches were wired in a way that made sense, with the left controlling the lobby ceiling rose, the middle controlling the hallway & the right controlling the landing light. It should be obvious, but I’ve been in a lot of houses where the switches were wired completely unintuitively!

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The consumer unit was labelled for ease of use. There are several free slots available for future expansion.

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The testing went smoothly & the paperwork/certificates were completed as required.

Working with Sam on this was a truly empowering and enjoyable experience. His calm, kind demeanour, combined with his work ethic and thorough, intelligent approach created a lovely atmosphere where I felt welcome to assist and learn more about how my own house works.  He was always happy to answer questions in a way that elevated you rather than making you feel silly and took the time to discuss things, treating me as an equal which was remarkably refreshing!

I now know the current layout of cables in the house, how to run cables, wire sockets & simple light switches. Most importantly, I know a wonderfully talented, helpful electrician to call upon when the project inevitably calls for Sam’s skills in future.

Edit : I have also now utilised what I have learned about wiring new sockets onto a radial to extend the circuit in my bedroom.

 

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