Project: Vent / Recessed Light Combo

Posted by Nate in Home Improvements.
Wednesday, November 9th, 2005 at 10:44 pm

Well, as the kids say, "it’s on". Insulation has been rolled back, wires have been cut, circuits have been tested. There’s a hole in our ceiling. … and that’s as far as things have gotten so far. You know all those "installs in 2 hours!" claims you see on boxes in the home improvement store? Lies. Maybe 2 hours on a new, up-to-code house, but I’d say add an hour if it’s a house built in 1924, and then tack another one on for being your first major electrical / remodeling work. And then add one more if you have a dog. Doing the quick math, you can see that starting at 7 leaves me well short if I have to be quiet by 10:30 (grad student in the house).

How did it go? Pretty well, considering. Started by removing the existing fixture in the ceiling of the kitchen, and realizing there was one more conduit running into it that I couldn’t originally see. What the…? Charging ahead: I cut the wires I couldn’t unwrap, didn’t label them (did I mention it’s my first big project?), and managed to pull them up into the attic space. Finally traced the wires and felt pretty confident that the three from the hidden (bigger) conduit were 1) always hot, 2) switched hot, and 3) neutral. There was no ground. (did I mention not being up to code?) So the first (smaller) conduit was in fact providing power to the lighting fixtures in the half second story, through the kitchen lighting recess! Why some genius decided to handle this connection inside the kitchen box is beyond me. But I figured it out, and when I re-wired things at the end of the night, I was right. [pats self on back]

Anyway, the whole point of this drilling and cutting and wiring was to install a Nutone 744NT vent / recessed light combo. It’s not meant for use over a cooking area, but provides a handy method to determine if it’s far enough away – it is. (The skylight method I was considering before wouldn’t have been – probably would have worked, but trouble in the long run). The picture with the jigsaw shows the hole I cut in the "floorboards" in the attic crawlspace, you can see the more modern insulation rolled back on the edges and the old crazy combination of shredded something and "cotton" whatever. I have no idea what it is, but it’s all through the ceiling – which is good, considering we’re in MN. Keeping that in mind, all of the fixtures I’ve selected so far are rated IC – Insulation Contact. They’re allowed to be in the ceiling with insulation surrounding them – not packed tight, but there. Packed tight is asking for a fire, plus it’s not good insulation if it’s packed.

So that’s the update for now. As you can see, I couldn’t find safety goggles and am wearing Karen’s awesome sport shades with yellow tint. (Or I’m an alien: you decide.)

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One Response to “Project: Vent / Recessed Light Combo”

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