Something we have decided to focus on this year was getting our basement a little bit closer to being ready to finish. Lots of stuff needs to be moved, updated, and addressed before putting up drywall.
This last winter we have been finding that our furnace is not performing like we would like it to. So we were looking into replacing it. Come to find out that the duct vents in the basement that provides air to 4 vents in not big enough, probably why our bathroom is our warmest room in the house. So the vents need to be re-sized but guess what is in the way??? Just some plumbing and electrical… This changed our plans because now we needed to address these problems first. Side Note: These were on our list of replacing just not this year, so we are not upset about it, actually excited!!! Here is what it looked like before.
We decided to start with the electrical in this adventure. We needed to move/replace the low voltage that powered the basement bedrooms. And while we were at it, we decided to combine all our breaker boxes into one (we had three inside the house). Now something we are not OK with doing is replacing/combining breaker boxes. So we decided to hire an electrician to do the job. I called around to a couple of electricians in our area to have them come give us some bids.
Here are the list of things we wanted done with our electrical:
- to combine our three breaker boxes into one (this does not include the main one outside)
- update our low voltage in the basement (the two bedrooms)
- put our refrigerator on its own breaker (our kitchen is on one breaker and we trip it a lot…)
We decided on one bid (was about $1,150 for everything we wanted) and he came out a couple of days later to get started.
We had a breaker box on our stairs (this was all for the upstairs) and we were hoping to do away with it completely. After the electrician removed the old box, we were happy to discover that only 2 wires went up the wall in the stairs, all the rest came from the basement. But something we would have to pay more for was the stoves wire (ours was not long enough to reach the new breaker box) and this wire is expensive… But because we would be redoing the stove outlet now, the two wires that feed up the wall could be combined inside the stove outlet box. This made it possible to eliminate the box on the stairs completely, YAY!
This is what our basement looked like halfway through the process.
Wire everywhere… The electrician got to our house that day at 8 am, took a very little lunch break, and did not leave until about 9 pm. He told me that he did under-estimate the time it was going to take to combine the breaker boxes. He still needed to come back another day to install our surge protector that he did not have on hand (was included in our price).
A couple of days later, I started to remove all the old wire from the basement bedroom when I noticed I only had 1 extra/free breaker spot. Something we wanted was extra breakers because we have a basement to finish, and we told the electrician this before he started. So I gave him a very nice call to ask about it (it was Saturday and I knew he probably would not answer), I ended up leaving a message.
Monday morning, he gave me a call back and asked if he could come over to talk about the breaker box and install the surge protector. A little while later, we were talking about our options. The breaker box we just installed is a 24 circuit but with only 12-spaces, called a 12-24 circuit (we thought it was 24 spaces but we have no clue about breaker boxes…). The way to get 24 circuits is to use a Tandem Circuit breaker (2 breakers in one). But we only had one more circuit that we could use the tandem circuit and we needed at least 4 more circuits for the basement and future microwave outlet (fridges and microwaves should be on their own breakers).
What we decided to do (the electrician debated on doing this in the first place) was move our A/C circuit to the outside breaker box, this would open up 4 circuits using the tandem breaker. Side note: Normally A/C units are powered from the outside breaker box.
So the electrician got back to work adjusting this and after an hour we had the extra circuits we needed. The electrician did not charge us extra for this, he was a nice guy to understand the problem.
If you live in Utah and need an electrician, we used HedgeHog Electric and really enjoyed our experience with them. They took the extra time to explain things to us (I am not getting paid to say this or a discount, we did really like them).
With the added wire for the stove, the new breaker box plus some electrical, this project cost us about $1,350. We found it to be worth the price to hire someone else to do the work. Anyone else need to combine some breaker boxes? Or do some electrical work?
I now need to patch some holes in the stairs… Finish removing all the old wires but we are getting closer!!! Here is our breaker box now.
Did you notice that the washer and dryer are by each other?!?! Happy Day!!