Heat and Electricity

I have been away from our house in the country for over a week, or is it two? I’ve lost track! Attila has been working 12 and 13 hour days, while I have been away. And yet, when he was here over the weekend with his Mom, he looked wonderful. That could be me, my perception clouded by missing him. He did look rested and happy over the weekend. He has one more Saturday off this summer, and there is one more long weekend, when he will be off on Sunday and Monday. That is twice more this summer that he will have two days off, consecutively. I am looking forward to those brief interludes!

Yesterday, Wednesday, was an exhausting day of shopping. I was off to Home Depot to look for a ceiling light and a vanity light fixture. At the low end of the scale, cost wise, there is not much to choose from. I took my time and am happy with my purchases, but it took me hours and hours of deliberation to finally come up with the items that worked for me. One of the issues is light bulbs. I want to use LED bulbs, but I know some of the flush mount fixtures will not accommodate LED bulbs, because they are too large. I was searching for fixtures that would allow the use of LED light bulbs, AND were designed for easy light bulb replacement, AND were attractive, AND were reasonably priced. It was a tall order, but I think I managed it. When we install the lights, I will know!

We decided to put in a bathroom fan, for use primarily in the winter months. I found one that is quiet, at mid-range cost, and with a slightly larger “footprint” than I had anticipated. We will see how that goes, the bathroom is very small, this fan may be too large. We will not know until we try to install it.

We are having a heat wave here at the little house in the city. When I am here alone, I am not comfortable sleeping with the windows open at night. Since it gets very hot and stuffy with the windows closed at night, I felt I needed to take action.

I purchased a small window air conditioner, meaning to install it as soon as I got home. I began by opening the box, and examining the manual. It required a few more inches clearance than I had between the window and the storm. I thought to remove the storm, but when I took a close look at it I decided that would not work. So I headed back to the store and returned that air conditioner.

My eye then wandered to portable air conditioners, which were on sale. I bought one. It was relatively inexpensive, which really comes into play because to drain it one has to find a tray, and unscrew a cap at the bottom of the back of it, and let the water drain out. When the internal reservoir if full, the unit will not work. I think I should drain it every morning, just in case, as I would not want to wake up in the night, hot and miserable, and have to drain it then, to get it working again.

Buying the unit was all well and good, a staff member helped me load it into the car, and I drove home happy as a lark. Then the challenge began. This box is 33 x 22 x 14 inches in size and it must have been over 100 pounds, although I couldn’t find any weight on the box. It had a picture of two people carrying it, which means it was heavy.

I managed to pull it out of the car and lower it to the driveway. Then I fetched our appliance cart, and used that to drag it around the house, through the gate, and across the back lawn to the foot of the porch stairs. And there I stopped. I was not strong enough to pull it up the stairs on the cart. I figured it was time for a break. The heat was intense, so I sat in the house, in front of the fan, with a cold drink, until I was cool and calm. Then out I went, to give it another go.

I tipped the box on its end and swung the corner of the box above the stair. With the edge of the box on the first stair, I put my back to it and pushed the box entirely onto the first stair. I rested a bit, then tipped the box again to gain the next stair, then another rest, and another stair, and so on, until I had the box at the top of the stairs. Then I took the appliance cart and pulled the box across the porch, over the edge of the pile of discarded tile board and drywall. Finally I got it to the door, and in the door. Then up one more stair, and it was in!

I rested a long time after that, recovering from my mental and physical ordeal. I didn’t get back to working on the air conditioner until about 9:00 p.m.

The portable air conditioner just out of the box.

It took me about an hour to install the air conditioner. A great deal of that time was spent reading the manual. I had it working by 10:00 p.m. and ran it all night. It was quite loud, and very effective. I think a train could rumble by just outside the door and I wouldn’t have heard it above the din the air conditioner was making. Still, it is a much better alternative than trying to sleep in the heat and humidity.

I turned it off before 7:00 a.m. when the hydro gets expensive. I had made a note to myself as well, to turn off the hot water heater before 7:00 a.m. I turned it on after 7 p.m. last night, so that I would have hot water this morning, for a bath and to wash my hair. Hot water, what a luxury!

Attila and I discussed my plan to leave the electrical breaker off until he has a chance to check the wiring. However, he pointed out that I could check the wiring myself and then turn the electricity back on in the bathroom, the front of the living room, and the two bedrooms, which are all on the same circuit. Attila reviewed the project, and told me where to find the Voltage Detector and Receptacle Tester. I watched this Tutorial video, How to Wire an Outlet / Receptacle before beginning.

The power was already off, but I tested the wires with the Voltage Detector to ensure that the lines were dead, they were.

The bit of the electrical box that protrudes top and bottom, to allow screws to hold the receptacle in place, was bent in the process of removing the tile board and drywall. This box and receptacle will not be used in our bathroom again, as we will replace it with two; one a light switch receptacle, and the other a GFCI (Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter) receptacle.

The Receptacle after the drywall was removed.

I checked the wiring on the receptacle and it looked correct and felt secure. I placed the receptacle back in the electrical box and screwed it, top and bottom, back into place.

The receptacle screwed securely to the electrical box, the power was OFF while I worked on this.

Next, the scary part, I turned the power to the bathroom back on, at the breaker panel in the basement.

When I came upstairs I used the Voltage Tester to test the electrical wire, it was live.

The Voltage Tester, what a great little device! Every time I use it I check to make sure the batteries are still working, by testing a known live electrical wire, like the lamp cord that is plugged into the wall in the living room. That way I know I can trust the results I am seeing, and trust which wires are live and which are not.
DSCF2429Voltage Detector

Then I put the plastic plate back on the receptacle, screwing it in carefully.

The receptacle plate is replaced.

After replacing the receptacle plate, I used the Receptacle Tester to make sure the job was done right. It was!

Another handy item, the Receptacle Tester, easy to use.

I will not be using the power outlet in the bathroom, that was not the point of the exercise. I want to use the electrical outlets and lights in the bedrooms, and the electrical outlets in the living room, that are on the same circuit. Now that the power is on, I can do it!

This morning I was in the car and off to Home Depot once again, by 7:30 a.m. Yesterday I saw a toilet on sale for $98.00. It was a low water use model, with a high seat, chair height, and it is as short as toilets get, it doesn’t stick out from the wall as much as most toilets do, which is an issue in our small bathroom. All the boxes were ticked with this toilet, so I drove back to pick one up.

This time I was in luck, when I arrived home Terra called to say she was dropping in to pick up the tools she lent to me, and to drop off some small pieces of cement board for the bathroom wall, around the tub. She came with Vaders, who carried the toilet, in the box, into the garage. Yes! Thank you Vaders! And thank you Terra and Lares for the loan of the tools and the cement board!

Now I am resting in front of the fan, thinking about what my next project will be, and about food, glorious food!

Worldly Distractions


Condition: Mostly Cloudy
Pressure: 101.9 kPa
Visibility: 16 km
Temperature: 26.7°C
Dewpoint: 18.0°C
Humidity: 58%
Wind: SW 13 km/h
Humidex: 33


“Fervor is the weapon of choice for the impotent.”
Frantz Fanon

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My goodness, you have done a lot. Maneuvering those heavy things is strenuous work, and as I was reading I was hoping I wouldn’t be reading that you had pulled a muscle or something. You are my hero! Especially doing the electrical work, which is terribly scary stuff, IMHO.

Is Attila finally over his rash and itch? I sure hope so. A couple of days off will be wonderful, given how hard both of you work and apart, too.


I’ve always wondered if those portable AC units worked OK. Loud but good cooling you say? Interesting. I’ve thought of getting one for our 2nd bedroom. Not sure about the noise though. I’m loving your renovation project here… the way you break it down makes it seems a lot easier but working in that heat is brutal. We are having that heatwave down here too.


Bex, the unit was less noisy the second night. Two reasons: one, I brought it home on its side, and it should have sat upright for eight hours before I turned it on, but I couldn’t wait and turned it on after four hours and two, Attila suggested placing on a bit of carpet to absorb some of the vibration, which I did, and I think it helps.

One more comment about the portable AC. This one I purchased was very inexpensive, and I can’t help but wonder if a top of the line model would not only be quieter, but easier to drain. Mine has a plug on the bottom at the back, which I have to set a tray under to collect the water. I would have preferred a unit more like a dehumidifier, which a removable water “bucket”. If money were no object I would be looking for those features.