Interior Electrical Boxes

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It seems like we are working so hard up at the Momplex, but nothing is getting done DONE. As in you walk in and say "wow, alot has changed!"

But regardless of how things may seem - oh how I dread the mechanical stage! - I have been hearing the big D-word - drywall- and it's being paired with other D-words like delivery and date. Things are happening, they are just happening very slowly, and are very expensive, tedious, and all we will have to show for it is as minimized as possible. How can we make this vent not show as much? How can we place this thermostat so you won't be bumping in to it? All this work, and then you try to hide it as best as possible!

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Step 1 Diagram: 
Step 1: 
The Ram made himself a little office with a view upstairs in the Momplex, and drew out the electrical diagrams. He does have experience in the electrical field, and up here in Alaska you can run your own wiring, but we are also going the extra mile and will have everything looked over and approved by a licensed electrician before drywall goes up.
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Step 2 Instructions: 
It's probably a good thing that we are deciding on the electrical plans in the darkest part of the year in Alaska. Had this been June, we'd probably have said one light is more than enough for this tiny space.
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But since it's January, and it's dark 20 some hours a day, including our work hours, it's apparent we need another ceiling light box here. In Alaska, it's better to add the extra light box than to spend your life wishing there was a little more light in that closet or dark spot at the end of the hall.
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Step 4 Instructions: 
Like the electrical boxes upstairs, it's as simple as placing a wood support between the joists and then hammering on an electrical box.
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Okay, so maybe two lights that close together are overkill!
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Step 6 Instructions: 
Then we move on to putting up electrical outlet and switch boxes. For the garages, the boxes are placed at 48" height. Since I was shivering cold (the momplex is insulated, but getting heat requires putting wood in the woodstove, and we just started the fire) the Ram measured and I get to hammer the boxes on.
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Where a box goes, there's a mark on the stud.
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Each box has a tab on the stud side so the box can overextend the stud enough for drywall.
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This is really actually easy. You just line the box up on the stud with the mark, using the tabs as a guide.
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Step 10 Instructions: 
And hammer away!
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For the outlet boxes not in the garage, we cut a board to the height of the boxes
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And then just used the board as a guide for finding the height of the outlet boxes. This saves measuring each and ever box.
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And let me tell you, there's a lot of boxes to put up, so little things like this can save a ton of time.<p><br /></p><p><img src="" style="width: 470px;" alt="" /><br /></p><p><br /></p><p>In case you are wondering what the Ram is up to, he spent quite a bit of time&nbsp;clearing&nbsp;out the walls and moving extra materials and supplies to the center of rooms for mechanical installation.</p>
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Because this the Momplex, we got to be fair, and each Mom gets the same amount of boxes.
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You do everything once, and then you do it again for the other side.<p></p><p><img src="" style="width: 470px;" alt="" /></p><p></p><p>We've got all the boxes up on the interior walls. &nbsp;Putting the boxes up actually goes quite fast, and it is definitely something you can do to help out. &nbsp;Pulling wire and hooking things up? &nbsp;I'll let you know when we get to that stage!</p><p></p><p>But first, next up, we'll be putting the boxes in the exterior ICF walls. We've done some testing and are hoping in practice things go just as smoothly. &nbsp;</p><p></p><p>Hopefully by the end of this week we can wrap up electrical and start working on the plumbing supply lines, getting the thermostats in, and all the other odds and ends&nbsp;utilities&nbsp;like telephone jacks, internet, and tv jacks to finally get to the point of interior finishing!!! &nbsp;I cannot wait!!!&nbsp;</p><p></p><p>Have you done electrical in your home? &nbsp;Do you have enough boxes? &nbsp;Or do you always wish there were more outlets? &nbsp;More lights? &nbsp;Or are we putting too many boxes in?</p>


My house actually has plenty of outlets. I think that's about the only thing they did right when this place was built/updated.

It needs more light in the living room, however. There's one ceiling light, and that's really not enough, especially in winter. Fortunately, there are plenty of outlets, so we have a couple of floor lamps to help out.

We have the same problem in our house! Last winter we did my all time favorite home DIY project and added some lights in faux beams to the ceiling and it made a huge difference for us! We have a tiny house with not a ton of wall space or space for lamps and really no corners, so lamps weren't enough for us. Glad you got plenty of outlets, I'm always searching for somewhere to charge phones and cameras and laptops!

Our house has plenty of outlets, it's lights and phone jacks it's missing!

Our upstairs has 1 main room with 2 off rooms and 1 bathroom. The main room has /19/ outlets in it. 19! But when we moved in, not a single light. Seriously. We had 3 ceiling fans (It's a very large room - vaulted ceiling) with lights installed. That helped a lot.

The downstairs has plenty of phone jacks - even one in the master bathroom, but there's not a single phone jack upstairs! What were the builders thinking? When we had a home phone line we were always running up and down the stairs to get to the phone in time. Fortunately, we just use cell phones now.

Well at least you get a work out, eh? Good thing phone jacks are on their way out and cells are coming in! Do you think we'll still use phone jacks in ten years? We discussed less phone jacks, but the Ram convinced me that running a phone jack in open stud walls is a 10 minute job, and we'd better just do it! Glad to hear you agree!

Yes, at least we got a work out. :) Plus side.

I think that since home lines are already on the way out that it's really unlikely people will use them in 10 years. I would still want one, though, just incase. I think it's a good idea to put them in the momplex.

If you have an older phone, you can still make a phone call through a land line even without electricity, so it's good to have a jack in case your cell phone battery dies when you're days without power. And even disabled phone lines can call 911, can't they?

When I reno'd my house almost 2 years ago i did all the electric myself also, about 4 outlets 5 outside lights 3 interior lights and replaced or swapped lights around to match room decor. Did same with plumbing also, just had the pros come in and verify my work. Im lucky that i could wait until i had enough for them to do because its 100$ just to show up then 70$/hr after. I worked extensively with wiring on fighter aircraft so i figured a house would be simple. I had a blast doing it all. You guys are doing some awesome work!! I have loved learning about the ARXX block contruction. How does the pricing compare to traditional building, when you include all the special procedures? I can understand how beneficial it would be for interior alaska. Keep up the great work.

Hi Quintin, yikes, I know ... $100 dollars an hour! Thank you! We figure the overall cost is going to be similar between the ARXX and frame construction, but we aren't comparing apples to apples either. The ARXX blocks are much more insulated, sealed in, and because it's poured in place concrete, solid and windproof. Thank you so much! Ana


Your blog is amazingly helpful and informative. I'm in the planning stages of my own ICF home and I've learned so much from your experience.

I was wondering if you were still keeping track of your building stats? I'm sure the time spent at this point is almost incalculable, but it would be very informative if you had any figures on the running building costs?

Thanks so much

Hi, and why thank you! I can't recommend ICFs enough! We are seriously heating the entire Momplex with just a few logs in a barrel stove! And it is so quiet inside! Another huge plus is I know the stacking and pouring part took a long time (it was our first full ICF build so we were learning too), but once that was done, we have a fully insulated wall! No vapor barrier or insulation bats to stuff in! That really was huge for us.

We've kind of lost track of stats over the years. I can say the costs are pretty comparable to framing, but the costs that really effect the bottom line are labor (we've been DIYing and you could DIY ICFs as well!) and then the quality of materials. We've been going the maintenance free route whenever possible, so things have been over budget, but we are hoping to save money over the long run and also have lower heating costs. Hope this helps out!

This is exciting-you are getting so close. I just wanted to say that I've never owned a home, but I've lived in enough places to know that no one ever installs enough for lighting. The last several places we have rented, I always end up buying more floor lamps. I hate that. Its not the same as overhead lighting. So, I am glad you are doing the electrical now in the winter-you'll be able to see where you need light. I'm so proud of how far you have come. Keep up the great work!!

I enjoyed looking at the step-by-step photos of the electrical work. I personally do not think the lights so close together are overkill since it is Alaska where you are building. You can never have too much light…It’s a safety thing!