Sunday, November 11, 2012

A Day In The Life Of A Residential Electrician. "Rough In."

I believe tomorrow the uncle and I will be starting work on another home.  The framing crew has been there, and built the skeleton of the new home.  We'd previously been to the job site to set the power poll, and we'd saw the foundation and concrete slab were fresh and solid enough to walk on.

So we'll be starting the "rough in."  What is a "rough in?"

Well, simply put, when electricians are roughing in a house....they are doing some hard labor.  That is all there is to it.  It is hard work.

I'm sure there is a lot more thinking involved in it all than I know.  I'm not the licensed contractor.  I'm just the guy that won't get a second to sit still during the rough in.  I'll be working.  I'll be banging with a hammer, doing some drilling with a big "hole hawg" drill, and then I'll be pulling a lot of wire from one place to another.

We'll be working in far off Cunningham, Texas.  Cunningham is a seriously rural place.  The picture below is of the old Cunningham store.  I'm not sure if they've got an open store of any kind there, or not.  It is more of a rural community than what one would think a "town."

Here's the link I got the picture from:

Anyway, a retiring military guy is building a home, and my uncle and I will be installing the electrical for the place.  We start by drilling holes in the two by four studs so that we can pull wire through it to reach a location for an outlet, usually, a simple 120 volt plug.  For switches, lights, things of that nature, usually a hole is drilled through the rafters.

Here's a "hole hawg."  A "hole hawg" is a one hundred twenty volt powered monster.  It is a big and powerful tool, and I swear to you - if you drill holes through two by four studs with one of these all day long, you will become very dirty for the saw dust...(drill dust?) - and your shoulders will be aching.  It's a muscle building job, running the hole hawg.

The second major part of the first stage of a "rough in" is the nailing up of the boxes the electrical receptacles or outlets go in.

In other's a lot of swinging a carpenter's hammer.  Below is an example of a plastic nail up box.

The box pictured would be the sort of box one would use to have two switches installed in side by side, a box for a single switch or a 120 volt plug is roughly half that size, and either a plug or a single switch can go in the same box.  What they are calling "cable knockouts" are the bits of plastic one knocks out in order to pull the Romex wire through.

Below is a roll of "number twelve" Romex wire.

Now when you pull your wire from either another part of an electrical circuit, or from the breaker panel itself, the wire has to be secured, and this is done with Romex wire staples.  More swinging of a hammer!

Oh jeez, it is just a lot of hard work.  So goodness gracious, buy a hammer or something already.


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