Monday, September 28, 2009

Installed Overhead Shower Light

Brighten up your Shower Unit with an Overhead Shower Light

By Mark J. Donovan

After many years, I finally decided to install a recessed overhead shower light in our custom ceramic tile shower. All I can say is what a difference! And the kicker is it only took about $30 of material and 3 hours of work.

Before starting this project I first turned power off to the electrical boxes associated with this project at the main electrical service panel.

I installed the shower light by first finding the center of the shower unit, and then drilling a small pilot hole into the ceiling drywall. I then went up into the attic with my recessed can lighting fixture and found the drill bit hole. I then positioned the recessed can shower light so that it was centered over the drill bit hole and scribed a circle around the perimeter of the can light fixture.

I then used a utility knife to remove the circular drywall piece.

After creating the hole for the recessed can light I then positioned the can light into the hole and secured the can light to the ceiling joists.

To power the light, I brought power from another light fixture down to an existing switch that controlled another light in the bathroom. I also ran another Romex cable from the new can light down to the electrical switch box. Fishing wires down through a wall takes some time and luck. It took me quite a while to do this.

With the two Romex cables now fed into the electrical switch box, I connected the black wire associated with the power line to the top side of the switch.

Next, I connected the black wire associated with the can light Romex cable to the bottom side of the switch.

I then twisted all of the white, return wires, together using a wire nut.

Finally, I connected the ground wires together and connected them to the green screw on the switch. I then reattached the electrical switch to the electrical box and put the faceplate cover back on.

Back at the recessed can shower light, I connected the black wire associated with the Romex cable to the black wire in the can shower light. I then connected the corresponding white wires together. Finally, I connected the corresponding bare copper ground wires together.

I then screwed in a new light bulb, turned power back on to the circuit at the main circuit breaker panel and I was in business.

Our ceramic tile shower is now bathed in bright light provided by our new overhead shower light.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Preparing to Pump out Septic Tank

By Mark J. Donovan

Last evening I prepared to have our septic tank pumped out. Basically this meant digging a rather large hole in my lawn to get access to the septic tank cover. The hole ended up being about 3’x4’, and about 1 foot deep, before all was said and done. Though I had the septic system design plans that showed specifically where the tank was located relative to the house, there is always some play in actually finding the septic tank lid.

The septic tank “honeywagon” is expected to stop by today and pump out the septic tank and inspect the tank for any problems. Assuming all goes well, I will have the septic tank covered by nightfall and the lawn over the septic tank reseeded.

If your home is on a private septic system, make sure you septic tank is pumped out periodically, usually once every 2-3 years for the average home and household size. It is important to pump the septic tank to prevent the drainfield from becoming clogged up by the sludge that normally sits at the bottom of the tank. If the septic tank is not pumped periodically the sludge inside the tank can build up and slowly work its way into the septic drainfield or even into your home. A clogged drainfield is not easy or cheap to repair, and a septic tank that backs up into your home is a stinking and messy affair. The risk of either is not worth the $200 or $300 for pumping the septic tank once every other year or so.

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Cutting Down a Tree

By Mark J. Donovan

This weekend I spent some time cutting down some low hanging tree limbs and one large tree. The large tree stood at least 75 feet tall and was situated fairly close to the house. After using a tree pole saw to remove some of the larger limbs that were hanging on the side of the tree that faced the house, I pulled out the chain saw.

Before cutting down the tree, I tied a large 5000 lb test strap to it, and an adjacent tree, to help prevent the tree from falling in the wrong direction. I was able to ratchet the strap very tightly to create the pull I wanted on the tree.

I then started up the chain saw and took out a wedge of wood that went about ¼ of the way through the trunk of the tree. The wedge faced the direction of where I wanted to place the tree.

I then made a backcut on the back side of the tree, about an inch higher than where the wedge cut was made. I got nearly ½ ways through it when the tree started to fall. I held my breath for a few seconds as I watched the tree crash to the ground. The tree landed exactly where I wanted it to go, but the tip of it just landed shy of my above ground pool. Fortunately it missed it by a couple of feet.

Cutting the tree down was the easy part, however. I spent about an hour limbing the tree and cutting it up into firewood length (aka bucking). I then had to stack the wood, haul away the brush and then rake the yard. Suffice it to say, it was an exhausting day. That said, the yard looks a lot brighter now that the tree is gone.