Sunday, January 22, 2012

Living Room Lights and Fan


We've been itching for a while to replace the fan in our Living Room, like since we moved in. The best way to finally get to a project is of course to brake what ever is there (like we learned in the bathroom). Well after our fan was volleyball spiked during a fun game {which we won of course, had to at least have been worth the hit}. On high speeds our old fan wobbled like skier legs after a good day - which means it wobbled quite a bit. So we decided it was time. A flush mount fan was the plan, and to get it even higher, we didn't want the light fixture to be a part of the fan. So we went with dimming can lights. We don't hold back in this house.
The first trick was finding where to put the cans. We made sure they'd be far enough away from the fan, and also that they didn't hit any trusses up above. The cans come with a nice template that makes cutting the hole pretty easy. I have to say though, I got tired on the first one. Cutting above your head is hard. Isn't my husband cute?
Next we wired the cans. Our electrician friend gave me a good tip {and unintentionally made me feel silly at the same time}. Wire the cans before you stick them in the ceiling. G.E.N.I.U.S. We've done can lights before {in the kitchen}, but before I put the cans in first, and then we wired in the attic. L.A.M.E. Using a ladder as a seat beats breathing insulation any day. We still had to do some things in the attic, but not nearly as much time was spent hopping trusses.
After wiring, inserting the cans is rather easy. Up and away she goes. 
We did a lot of turning off the breaker {neither of us wanted to get fried}. So we used our handi-dandy headlamp. Which works a whole ton better than a small mag light held between your teeth, which has been my previous method. Here Chris is taking the old fan down. 
Fans are so easy to install. Since we were putting a fan in an old fan's spot, we didn't have to worry about any bracing. It was already there. Next step, follow the directions on the box. We did have to do a little fancy wiring, since we went from a light/fan to lights and a fan we needed another switch. The extra switch wasn't too hard. It was finding which switch box had power. Too many three way switches going on. So our buddy came over with his little electrical "sniffer" and helped us figure out how to get our new switch working in with our 3-ways.

Next was finish installing the cans. We ensured they worked by putting a bulb in each one {we'd hate to find out that something went wrong after the cans were all the way in, and have to wire up in the attic}. The next step according to the directions was to "push the clips flat to the housing" The picture below kind of shows the black clips. You push them once the can is in place so they go out and around and push down on the gypsum board ceiling to hold the can securely. When you push them all the way they click and they are there for good. Only thing was, they were about impossible to push all the way to the click. The pictures above are only a few of many pictures I got of Chris declaring war on those clips, standing defeated, then declaring war again. Eventually he got them all, I wasn't successful with any of them. But I did all 5 of the kitchen lights by myself, so I didn't feel too bad.

I can't forget to mention one little thing. We added a switch for the fan right? I wanted the switch to go into a box that already had 2 switches in it, so it would have 3 instead of 2. Only problem is, that box was only a 2gang box. A normal person would get a 1 gang retrofit box and put a little space between the faceplates. When the home depot guy told me that my lip came out and I told him that's not what I wanted. He then told me "a bird's gonna poop on that". Chris has embraced the phrase. Thanks Home Depot man.
Anyway, we got a 3gang retro-fit box and I made Chris and his friend slowly {so not to damage any gypsum board} pull the old box out, so the new box could go in it's place. They pulled the box away from the stud with a crowbar, clipped the nails, then slowly cut the "wings" off the box until it came out. I think it took them about two hours, seriously.
Imagine that, but black, with gypsum board you are not allowed to damage all around it. What a horrible torturous task to be assigned. And I didn't even help, I was babysitting.

Well the box ended up looking like this once they got it out. And the new retro fit box fit in great.

That's the dimmer switch in the middle. It's a monster so it made it hard to get everything to fit in the box like it should so the faceplate could go on all nice-like. But boy was it worth it!
It is hard to tell from pictures, but the room feels so much taller and brighter. I'm able to dance and workout with our Kinect without worrying about hitting the fan {we haven't tried volley ball yet}. And the dimmer switch is pretty awesome, really makes us feel luxurious.  So I vote A+ on this one.

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