Let There Be Light

My basement was really dark when I bought the house. I’ve been fumbling around down there with a headlamp and flashlights to supplement the one light bulb that the previous owner had down there. So yesterday I decided it was time to do something about it.

I’ve never installed a complete electrical circuit before but I pretty much knew how to do it so I figured I’d give it a shot. After some reading on the internet to make sure I knew what I was doing, and a quick trip to the hardware store, I got to work. About two and a half hours later I had a slew of lights burning brightly in the basement, plus a new available outlet down there too, all on a brand new circuit.


Here’s what is was like before:

Getting to work

And here it is afterwards

What a mess, maybe I should have just kept it in the dark!

And there’s another notch in my belt for a new construction skill. Anybody can do this stuff. It seems like the hardest part for most people is just getting to the point where you believe that you can do it. If someone else can do it there’s no reason you can’t. Watch a couple of how-to videos, read a few articles, pickup a few books on the topic, then grab your screwdriver. There are some hurdles and dangers along the way. But your fear should make you safe and cautious, not paralyzed.


Here’s a little inspiration:

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  1. kate
    Posted September 17, 2012 at 11:46 am | Permalink

    I hear you, about people not believing they can do things.

    I own an old hunting cabin in a rural place in New England. It needs a new roof, or at least replacing the split shingles. I can put a new roof on top of the old one too. It is a single story, and there is not far to fall. Being a total rookie with youtube access, I see it in my mind, how to do it, but I know my nature: I will reach for something and lose my footing.

    So, I don’t think it’s only about not believing I can do it, but being aware where I mess up, and figuring it is not worth it.

  2. Mike
    Posted September 17, 2012 at 1:10 pm | Permalink


    Unless there’s higher priority structural stuff, I’d replace that flexible duct next. :)

  3. Posted September 17, 2012 at 6:40 pm | Permalink

    I just told my wife about you and your blog (and how much I enjoy it).

    I told her that it’s so funny that you found hooking up lights and running a new circuit difficult (or a challenge at least). For me, it’d be a piece of cake, but as you know, unless you’ve done it before, of course it’s difficult the first time.

    I, on the other hand, would have loved to do what you did as being a lineman for the electrical company. The guys who bring electricity to my home are my heroes.

    Looks like you could finish the basement and add a lot of livable square footage to your house. Do you know you can install a toilet in your basement and that it could pump out the sewage without having to install below ground sewage lines?

  4. Posted September 17, 2012 at 6:49 pm | Permalink

    BTW, romex might not be code in an unfinished basement. Might have to go with EMC (electrical metal conduit).

    Like I say, I’m not sure. You might want to call an electrician in your area. He’ll know.

    If you ever have a heating/ac question, feel free to shoot me an email.

  5. Posted September 18, 2012 at 1:38 am | Permalink

    I enjoy your enthusiasm and endeavors to motivate fellow readers. I also note that you do advise readers of some dangers, to research and be safe. Good advice indeed.

    John. – forgetthegrind.com (the electrician from Australia)

  6. lurker
    Posted September 20, 2012 at 3:11 pm | Permalink

    very cool but I would fry myself or burn down my block. still there is other stuff I can try try again…

  7. loxie
    Posted September 20, 2012 at 6:49 pm | Permalink

    I think you don’t give yourself enough credit. You’re awesome and an inspiration to me.