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In Focus



After previously discovering the old knob and tube wiring in my house, it has finally been replaced. I learned that vermiculite insulation is horrible and makes a massive mess. It looks like gravel and pours out of the ceiling when you mess with a light fixture. It does the same with the plaster and lathe walls. It is a recipe for an unavoidable mess. 

Most of the old wiring was on the second floor, in my bedroom and office. Before construction began, there were two outlets in my room and two in my office, and extension cords ran everywhere to power everything. During the summer, my poor air conditioner got put on an extension cord that ran to the garage, as there were zero outlets in the hallway where it was located. 

I now have four outlets in my office, two in the hallway, and five in my bedroom. It’s wonderful! We moved the outlets up higher so I don’t have to move furniture to reach an outlet constantly. I don’t have to put everything on an extension cord anymore! The contractor could also fish the wiring through the closets into the walls and ceiling without using conduit, which made me much happier.  I finally have a ceiling light in my living room and one over the shower! That’s the main important ones, anyway. But all in all it has been entirely worth it...despite the mess.

My house, being of the 1930s era, has its quirks. My bedroom has no crawl spaces, but there are two in the office. Of course, furniture blocked them, so I moved everything away and pushed it into the middle of the room—my giant L-shaped desk, futon, filing cabinets, bookshelf, and other odds and ends. Then I had to clean out my closet. I threw all the clothes on my bed, and covered it with a sheet, and removed everything sitting on the dressers.

Going into this, I knew that things would get messy, but I way underestimated the mess. 

After everything was wired in, I was given the okay to move everything back, but the power upstairs would be off all night. My first trek upstairs had me a bit shocked. The electrician did excellent cleaning up, but vermiculite, insulation, and dust were still everywhere. It was unavoidable, despite their best efforts.

As stubborn as I am, I was going to sleep in my bed regardless. Dusting, sweeping, vacuuming, mopping, putting away the clothes, changing the bedding, more dusting, vacuuming, and mopping (thankful for the cross wave) using the light the electrician left behind on an extension cord running downstairs. About five hours later, I had recovered 90 percent of my bedroom and it was clean enough to sleep in after a long, hot shower. Between the flashlight on my phone and a couple of candles, I settled into bed. 

The next day, the electrician wrapped up the project, and I was left to finish more clean up. The office took much longer to clean than my bedroom. Everything made of fabric was washed, and of course, there was more dusting, sweeping, vacuuming, and more dusting.

The upstairs is about 98 percent done and livable. I still don’t know which is worse, old fluff insulation or vermiculite, but they both sucked to clean up. I have a whole new appreciation for electricians and the crap in the walls they have to deal with. 

Looking on the bright side...my spring cleaning upstairs is done, and I finally have outlets. Despite everything, it was worth it in the end!




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