March 30, 2008
On March 19, 2008, Progress Lighting, of Greenville, S.C. recalled approximately 1,000 outdoor ceiling light fixtures. The light fixtures were recalled because a weld that affixes a mounting bracket to the ceiling pan can fail, which can cause the fixture to fall and injure nearby persons. Progress Lighting has received six reports of fixtures falling. No property damage or injuries have been reported.
Only Progress Lighting ceiling-mounted outdoor light fixtures with model numbers P5526-20 and P5526-44 are included in the recall. The light fixtures have three flame-shaped lights inside a beveled glass and solid frame. The fixtures require (3) 60-watt light bulbs. “Made in/Hecho En/Fabrique Aux China” and the model numbers are written on the packaging of the product.
These fixtures were sold at electrical and lighting distributors nationwide from January 2007 through November 2007 for about $200. They were manufactured by Pegtom, of Hong Ding, China.
Consumers should contact Progress Lighting to schedule a free repair of the lighting fixture. For more information, contact Progress Lighting toll-free at (866) 418-5543 between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. ET Monday through Friday, or visit the firm’s Web site at www.progresslighting.com.
March 28, 2008
I just found out about this event where millions of people around the world are joining together to make a statement about climate change by turning their lights off for an hour. It’s called Earth Hour and I just signed-up to participate. I thought it might be something you’d want to sign up for too. Earth Hour is on March 29 from 8 – 9 p.m. local time, and it looks like it’s going to be really big. So far 25 cities around the world are taking part.
After last year’s tremendous success in Sydney, Australia, this global phenomenon will spread across six continents in 2008. Chicago will serve as the U.S. flagship city for Earth Hour in 2008, with Atlanta, Phoenix and San Francisco joining as leading partner cities. But everyone throughout the US and around the world is invited and encouraged to turn off their lights for an hour on March 29 at 8 p.m. local time–whether at home or at work, with friends and family or solo, in a big city or a small town. Click here to learn more about this movement.
Sign up for Earth Hour by visiting www.earthhour.org/sign-up and join the movement with me.
And remember – Lights Out on March 29!
March 27, 2008
In today’s article we are going to discuss the installation of the power, audio, phone and video cables to make everything work in your basement recreation room. For anyone that missed the first part of this series How to Wire a Recreation Room in Your Basement – Part 1, we discussed a materials list and the layout of the boxes, recessed cans, exhaust fan, low voltage boxes and speaker brackets for this project.
Before we get started, I want to make a few points and offer some tips for installing your cables. Ensure that all of your holes that you drill are 1 1/4 inches in from the the outside edges. In a 2 x 4 stud, you need to drill the hole in the center of the stud and in your floor joists, measure up 1 1/4 inches minimum to the bottom of the hole. This will prevent the sheetrock screws from penetrating any cables. Drill separate holes for the power and low voltage (audio, phone and TV) cables.
Install all of your cables parallel and perpendicular to the framing (wall studs and floor joists). When installing your low voltage cables maintain a 12 inch separation from all power cables when running parallel to the power cables and maintain as much separation as possible whenever running the low voltage cables perpendicular to the power cables. The 12 inch separation is particularly important with your audio (speaker) cables. If you do not maintain the separation with your audio cables, you will get the “60 Hz hum” on your speakers. When installing your cables, ensure there is 6 – 8 inches minimum sticking out of the boxes.
So let’s get started installing the NM cable (romex) for the receptacles. Before we get too far, I want to point out that I did not have you install 1 receptacle on either side of the fireplace in part 1 of this series. This is a National Electrical Code® (NEC®) requirement and it will add 2 single gang boxes to your materials list. However, I did include these in this diagram.
I do not know what the “Golden Tee” is or the power requirements for this unit. In my diagram, I placed this receptacle on the same circuit as the general receptacles. If this unit requires a dedicated circuit, then take it off of the general receptacles circuit and supply a dedicated circuit.
I also noticed that I was having you install a 2 gang box for receptacles on the right side of the TV equipment room. However, after looking at your drawing a little closer, I noticed that you are installing 1 receptacle inside of the TV room and 1 receptacle outside of the TV room. So, you may eliminate 1 – 2 gang box from your materials list and add 2 more single gang boxes; one for the receptacle inside of the room and one for the receptacle outside of the room.
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Now that all of the receptacle circuits are installed, let’s start installing the lighting circuit. When installing these cables, ensure that you keep them all together and try to stay away from the routes that your low voltage cables will follow. Planning out your cable runs now will ensure that you maintain the 12 inches of separation between your power cables and low voltage cables.
Be sure to mark all cables at the switch boxes (power, cans #1, etc…). This is very important and a timesaver when it’s time to make up these wires.
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With the lighting circuit complete, let’s install the bathroom circuit. In this scenario, I elected to place the entire bathroom on a dedicated circuit. You may also place the bathroom lights on the lighting circuit and install a dedicated circuit for the bathroom receptacles if you choose. Either way is permitted by the NEC®. Regardless of which option you choose, the bathroom receptacles cannot be tied into any of the other receptacles circuits.
The shower area is pretty busy and I’m not sure if you called for a light in there or not. If you want a light in the shower, I recommend a recessed can and switch it independently.
When installing the cable to the GFCI receptacle, ensure that you mark the power cable coming from the switch box as “Line” and the power cable going to the other receptacle as “Load”. This is also important and a timesaver when installing your GFCI receptacle.
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Now that all of the power is installed, let’s install the phone and TV cables. For the phone cable, I recommend Category 5e (CAT5e) cable. This is the most commonly used cable and works for either phone or data networks. At the phone location, I recommend installing 2 CAT5e cables. One cable will allow for up to 4 phone lines and the second cable will provide an internet connection. If you do not need an internet connection now, I still recommend installing the additional cable for future use. Installing the additional cable will cost you approximately $3.00 – $5.00 in material.
For each TV location, I recommend installing 2 – RG-6 quad shield coaxial cables and 1 – CAT5e cable. For CATV you only need 1 – RG-6 quad shield coaxial cable and 1 – CAT5e cable. However, the additional coaxial cable will allow for many other options. Such as satellite TV, watching a single PPV event on multiple TVs, etc…
Run all of your phone and data cables for each location back to the network interface box or back to an existing point in your home where all of the phone and data cables terminate. The network interface box is the telephone box on the outside of your house. Run all of your TV cables for each location back to the CATV box or back to an existing point in your home where all of the TV cables terminate. Ensure that all cables maintain 12 inches of separation minimum from the power cables when installed parallel to the power cables and as much separation as possible when installing perpendicular to the power cables. Label each cable on the central location end.
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The final step is to install all of the speaker cables. Install 1 cable from each speaker location back to the TV room and label each cable on the TV room end. You need to run each cable back to your audio equipment location. For higher quality sound ensure that all cable runs are separated from the power cables as much as possible.
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Please note that all of the diagrams that I created are general guidelines and may not work in your situation. I have not seen your basement so I’m uncertain of the framing, duct work, return air, plumbing, steel beams or anything else that may prevent you from installing the cables as I’ve laid out in the diagrams. Try to plan the routes for your power cables to keep everything together and maintain separation from the low voltage cable runs.
In part 3 of this series, we will discuss terminating all of the wires and cables to get everything ready for an inspection.
How to Wire a Recreation Room in Your Basement – Part 1: Creating a Materials List, Installing the Boxes, Recessed Cans and Exhaust Fan
March 21, 2008
Congratulations to Brian Roth on winning my February contest “Complete Your Next DIY Electrical Wiring Project with Help from a Master Electrician for Free“.
Brian emailed me a pdf document of his basement and what he wants. So, today’s article will discuss a materials list and installing the boxes, recessed cans and exhaust fan phase of this project. I will write a second part to this article tomorrow covering installing all of the cables.
So, let’s start with a materials list. You need:
21 – Single gang nail on boxes
5 – Two gang nail on boxes
7 – 4 inch round nail on boxes
3 – Low voltage boxes
11 – Recessed cans
1 – Exhaust fan
1,500 feet – 12/2 with ground NM cable (romex) (approximately)
200 feet – 14 AWG speaker wire (approximately)
RG-6 quad shield coaxial cable
Category 5 (CAT5) phone and data cable
1,000 – Plastic romex staples (approximately)
Green wirenuts or crimp connectors
2 – In ceiling speaker brackets
4 – In wall speaker brackets
I didn’t provide cable lengths for the RG-6 coaxial cable or the CAT5 phone and data cable because I don’t know where they need to end up. Each location should be an individual “home run” back to the main location. I will discuss this more in part 2 of this series.
Alright, now that we have the materials needed for the rough in phase, let’s start nailing up boxes. This first diagram shows the location of all of the single gang boxes indicated by red circles. I typically install my receptacle boxes at 18 inches above the floor to the top of the box. However, I recommend matching the height of your existing receptacles. Switches are typically installed at 48 inches above the floor to the top of the box and counter top receptacles are typically installed at 42 inches above the floor to the bottom of the box. However, I recommend matching the height of your existing receptacles and switches here as well.
Please note that I added a few boxes. There was nothing in the storage area. I recommend installing a light controlled by a switch and a receptacle in the storage area. This is not a National Electrical Code® (NEC®) requirement, but I think you will find this useful in the future. I also added a switch for your undercabinet lights. This is a much better option than just plugging in the lights.
Additionally, I added a smoke detector. You may not need this if there is an existing smoke detector in your basement. However, if there is not an existing smoke detector in your basement, then you need to add this one. You will also need to check with your local building codes department to determine if you need to connect this smoke detector to your existing smoke detector circuit. I highly recommend connecting the added smoke detector to your existing smoke detector circuit; even if your local building code does not require this. However, this could be very challenging to do.
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|This next diagram shows the location of all of the 2 gang boxes indicated by red circles. Please note that I added 1 – 2 gang box in the bathroom for the switches to control the exhaust fan and lights. I also used 2 – 2 gang boxes at the bottom of the stairs for the switching instead of 1 – 4 gang box. The reason for this is I assumed that you are going to install dimmer switches to control your lighting. Dimmer switches fill the boxes more than regular switches and put off more heat. Using 2 – 2 gang boxes will create a lot less problems than using 1 – 4 gang box when installing dimmer switches.||
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This diagram shows the location of all of the round boxes indicated by red circles. Please note that I added 1 round box in the storage area for the light. The wall sconces are mounted at all different heights. These really depend on personal preference. Depending upon the type of light fixture you are going to use, I recommend mounting your sconces around 5 – 6 feet above the floor.
The vanity light is typically mounted at 80 inches above the floor to the center of the box. However, this also depends upon the mirror that will be used as well as the type or style of light fixture you plan to install.
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|With all of the round boxes installed, let’s get started installing the recessed cans and the exhaust fan in the bathroom. The recessed can locations are indicated by red circles. Please note that I recommend moving the exhaust fan in the bathroom.||
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|Now that all of the recessed cans and exhaust fan are installed, let’s install the low voltage boxes for the phone and TV connections. The locations are indicated on the diagram by red circles||
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|The final step in this process is to install the speaker mounting brackets. The locations are indicated on the diagram with red circles. The 2 larger circles are ceiling mounted speakers and the smaller circles are in-wall speakers.||
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|Be sure to check back for part 2 of this series, where we will discuss the installation of the power, audio, phone and video cables.|
March 14, 2008
This past week was terrible for me. I did not get anything accomplished. It all started last Friday when I started feeling ill. By Monday morning, I couldn’t deal with it anymore. So, I went to see my doctor. He said I had the flu and sent me home with Tamiflu and some cough syrup with codine. I was coughing a lot and I asked for the cough syrup so I could sleep.
Tuesday morning my heart started racing again and I ended up in the hospital. I’m not sure if it was the meds my doctor prescribed or just a coincidence, but the supraventricular tachycardia (SVT) was going nuts. After stopping my heart twice and with meds, the doctors were able to get my heart rate under control. However, I had to spend 2 1/2 days in the ICU. I was finally discharged last night around dinner time.
At any rate, I just wanted to let everyone know what was going on and why I haven’t posted to this blog for over 10 days.
Brian Roth is the winner of the February contest “Complete Your Next DIY Electrical Wiring Project with Help from a Master Electrician for Free“. I sent him an email on March 1 and he replied on March 3. However, since I’ve been sick, I haven’t had a chance to design his project and create a post yet.
Brian is going to wire a recreation room in his basement that should be pretty cool. Check out the image below that he sent me. I am going to work on this today and I will create the post either this evening or tomorrow morning. I think you will want to check this post out once it is completed. I am going to walk Brian through, step by step, with pictures and diagrams on how to wire his entire basement recreation room.
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