Thursday, May 9, 2013

Garaging Part 2

The garage has seen a little more progress since last week's updateThe next project I decided to tackle was a fairly time consuming undertaking: I labeled our entire circuit breaker. Let me back up for a moment and explain to you why this is worth doing. 

A few years ago, my dad and I wanted to change out some outlets and light switches in his house. As I've said before, I strongly advise that you turn the power off whenever doing something like this. Electricians do it with the power on, but especially since I've seen what can go wrong if you don't turn the power off, I always flip the appropriate circuits at the breaker. The issue at my dad's was that he had been living in his house for 20+ years and had tons of devices plugged in in all of the rooms, so every time we flipped the wrong breaker it turned something off that we didn't want turned off. We kept having to reset everything (clocks, DVR schedules, etc.) over and over. Lesson learned: label everything before anything is hooked up.

First, I assigned each breaker a number. The previous owner had stickers on there that said things like "living room," "master," etc., but I knew that they were blanket statements and not perfectly accurate. Breaker 5 didn't turn off all of the master outlets and only the master outlets, so I wanted to make sure I knew exactly which breaker did which outlet, not just have a general idea.

John and I spent a day with him standing at the breaker box and me going around the house while he flipped each one to figure out how they were connected. I printed out our floorplan before we got started so I could mark where each outlet was as I went. John would flip the breaker, and I would use this little device that tells you if outlets are wired correctly to see if it still had power. If it did, the device's lights would be illuminated. You could also just use a lamp or anything else you plug in, but this was quick and easy because it's so small. 

When we figured out which number the outlet corresponded to, I wrote the breaker number down on the floorplan wherever the outlet was. 
I also created a spreadsheet that indicates which breaker is connected to the light switches/light fixtures and also the outlets for the large appliances. I didn't put outlets for the large appliances on the floorplan because we won't ever be plugging anything into those outlets other than their intended appliance. Some of the breakers don't seem to be connected to anything which means we can use them in the future if we ever add an outlet or light fixture somewhere!
Then, I combined both of those...

I printed it out and taped it under the circuit breaker for easy reference! How sad is it that I get extreme satisfaction out of this? Like really, extreme satisfaction.

Next, I want to talk a little about my tools. Whenever people come over, they're always really shocked at how many I have and how organized they are. The truth is that I've used every single tool (with the exception of one) I own and if they weren't so organized I would be pulling my hair out trying to find them. I initially thought I'd hang all of my tools on my workbench's pegboard, but I decided that having them horizontally, rather than vertically, would be easier for me. Plus, I have a lot of tools that are bulky and heavy which would not lend well to pegboard hanging. My dad got me this Craftsman tool chest for Christmas to store everything in.

Let's go through them all, shall we? I'll try to reference projects you've seen me using the tools for, but some things like screwdrivers are of course just used all the time for tons of things so I'll spare you from that long list ;)

The top is full of random things I use on a regular basis. It has all of my screws and nails (in that clear plastic organizer), electrician's tape, my 37 cent tool belt, pegs for the pegboard, and other miscellaneous items.

The fop drawer has all of my screwdrivers (big, small, and tiny) and Allen wrenches.

The second drawer has the electrician's pliers and voltage meter I used for replacing the light switches, regular pliers, the outlet tester I used to label the circuit breaker, the stud sensor I used to hang the garage cabinets, the putty knives I used on my wedding menu and to frame my master bath mirror, caulk removers and applicators that I used to recaulk my master tub and kitchen sink, and vice grips.

The third drawer has the laser level I used to mark the top of our backsplash, a two-way horizontal level, a t-square, a magnetized level, a tool to take very small and precise measurements, a mallet, the crowbar I used to remove the old backsplash, a hammer, and some wood and metal files.

The fourth drawer has channel lock pliers, a hand saw, the hack saw we used on the spigot, and crescent wrenches. 

The fifth drawer has combination wrenches, drill bits, and my drill.

The sixth drawer has caulk and a caulk gun, a rubber mallet, and various brushes and rollers.

The seventh drawer has hand clamps, a tool to measure angles, a dremel (the one tool I haven't used yet), and the staple gun I used to reupholster my vanity stool.

The eighth drawer is sort of my leftovers/junk drawer and has various things in it that I just about never use. There are leftover outlets and light switches, random hardware from our furniture that we didn't use but I didn't want to toss in case we need it some day, glass leftover from my DIY earring stand, etc.

The ninth and final drawer has the hand sander and sand paper I used to revamp my workbench, among other things, my jigsaw, and extra blades for my miter saw.

Whew. That's a lot of tools! Some of them I got at Harbor Freight for super super cheap, and some I spent more money on because I want them to work well and work well for the long haul. For example, my miter saw is not something I wanted to skimp on. There were cheap options, but when it comes to a spinning blade, I didn't think it was wise to skimp.

Then there are the few things I've hung on my pegboard for easy access like tape, safety glasses, and my workbench brush. I know those white frames on the pegboard look kind of silly, but they were leftover from the wedding and I didn't want to toss them but I have no actual use for them... yet. Maybe when I get around to actually putting things on the walls they can be of use, but for now, they frame tape. Haha.

So, what tools could you not live without? I'm realizing that's a hard question for me to answer seeing as how I really need them all. Projects just turn out so much better when you have what you need to get them done.

1 comment:

  1. Great job taking the time to label your circuits. Everyone should do this. The only comment I would have is that there is a standard to electrical panel labeling. Odd number circuits are always on the left, and even number on the right. An electrician will always look for circuit # 12 on the right-hand side of the panel, as that is industry standard. Top left starts with 1, top right is 2, then 3 goes back to the left, 4 on the right, etc.