05 June 2010

different bathroom, same setback

Despite the massive wall repair we had to do in the master bath that set us back a little, we were actually feeling pretty good about both our progress and our improved skill level since we did the guest bath. That is, until our old nemesis electricity decided to get all uppity.

In the guest bath, our electrical issues were primarily from some odd duplicate wiring in a formerly unused lighting box, and we had to relent and call in the electrician for $140 an hour (luckily he fixed everything in one hour). We thought we'd encounter the same issue in the master, and that this time we'd now know how to handle it. But alas, no. That would be boring, after all!

Replacing the old, hand-painted pink outlet with a new, code-compliant GFCI outlet actually went smoothly. (And it was all me! Whatwhat!)

If you want the cleanest look, make sure you look for the GFCI with the white buttons, instead of red and blue... the all-white ones are the same price for higher style

Add a screwless plate like this one from Lutron and you're in business

The first problems started to appear when we went to replace the old light and fan switches with a dimmer switch for the light and a timer switch for the fan, just like we did in the guest bath.

The new guest bath switch set-up

The bizarro wiring behind the old (and pink) light switches, along with a healthy dose of dust

Though Mark is very handy, and is good with electrical stuff, that extra blue wire just confused the heck out of us. Did we even need it? And with the newer wiring on light switches, it's not at all clear to us how to hook up the blue wire with our new switches... there's no hot pole and cold pole, like I learned about in fourth grade! So after a bunch of trouble-shooting with the new switches, we put the old light switch back in and called the electrician.

Our half new/half old set-up, as a stop-gap

At least we'll know that we're not paying the electrician $140 just to fix a light switch. There's also the little matter of the second light.

The first light entailed some drama to install (as well as seemingly endless patience from Mark), but then managed to work with the switch with almost no problem.

So pretty

But after trying every wiring combination Mark could think of (and he's a stats guy, so you know that was a lot) trying to get either one of the switches to turn on the second light, we had to give up. We still don't even know if that box has current running to it, so it could be a whole slew of possible issues.

The sad, new light awaiting the experts... at least we didn't kill the fan this time!

$140 poorer, but lots happier (thanks, Jose!)... the functioning second light and new light dimmer/fan timer combo

So here's hoping this is our only occasion to call for back-up on this project. Onward and upward!


  1. This is partly why we ultimately decided against the reno house. At least you have an idea of what you're looking at and what you might want to try. BTW-LOVE LOVE LOVE the lighting fixture!

  2. True, though in the scheme of things, this was no big deal, and certainly this type of issue is one you could encounter in any home, new or old. Just wait... you'll be tackling this kind of stuff with aplomb in no time!


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