Back on the home improvement path; updated task list

I've regained enthusiasm for home repairs, perhaps after a lull induced by cold weather and the post holiday rush at work. I've been unconsciously cogitating on the new electrical panel. In my last home improvement posting Edison had come and found two spots that would be acceptable for a new panel: one located adjacent to the existing panel and one located on another wall. There's a requirement that the ground be connected to the plumbing system through the cold water pipes, so the adjacent location is convenient from that standpoint since there's a spigot already there. But apparently my mind has been unconsciously working on a trade off study and I awoke the other day having chosen to locate the new panel in the less immediately convenient location.

Of course the rule of cascading home repair / bonus chores applies here as usual: The new location requires that I run a new cold water spigot to the nearby outside wall. Why not run hot and cold spigots to the outside? Why not do it in copper? Why not repipe in copper? And so I've decided. I gain: improved aesthetics by locating the panel out of immediate sight, ability to build trellis outside kitchen French doors without violating Edison access rules, and hot and cold water outside in my project area, cold water near the future location of my fridge (finally I'll have a working ice maker). I have one bid for the install at the new location already - from memory it's about $2200. That doesn't include the new piping. I think that's a tad high; we'll see what other bids come in.

Here's my To-Do list from December, revised and edited. It's longer than need be since I've kept old tasks on the list that have been completed in order to give myself a sense of accomplishment.

  • Install larger access door in attic. (Purchased 12 Mar, 2007) DONE 25 Mar 07.
  • Repipe house in copper, adding hose bibs as needed for grounding of water lines at new electrical panel location. Will need to review appropriate pipe sizing - could be undersized at present. Also - can I repipe only the easy stuff, saving the part about cutting into the walls for when I demo the kitchen? I'd use dielectric unions to couple the new copper to the old galvanized.
  • Call Edison to get my new meter "spotted" [approved as to location]. DONE. Edison was by on 5 January and marked their preferred locations.
  • Recontact electricians for estimates on service upgrades. Early estimate of $1900 from Gene at One Stop Electric for replacement of panel at orig location, but that doesn't include trenching the patio for a second ground rod attachment, $2400 over the phone estimate from Direct Electric Inc 310-978-8471 who advised me to get spotted first, at which point they would come by and give me a real estimate. Andrew at Reliable Electric 310-973-1922 / 310-415-8721 gave an estimate of $2400 for a new panel at the garage side of the house, with an additional $75 for a second ground rod. Express Electrical Service 310-643-8463 wanted $19.95 to come by for an estimate. I told them I'd think about it.) Service upgrades have to be proven or justified somehow in the approval process with a "green sheet". Remodeling a kitchen and a small garage workshop seemed to pass as appropriate justification to Edison.
  • Cut porch concrete for ground rod placement. It's starting to look like I should just demo the porch concrete altogether now, before the electrical upgrade.
  • Install lights in main attic.(DONE 12 Mar 2007)
  • Install lights in garage attic.(DONE 25 Mar 2007)
  • Install attic vent in area over my bedroom. (DONE 13 May 07)
  • Verify insulation pulled away from attic soffit vents. Examine possibility of putting in more soffit vents. Is there a better way to cool down the attic? Another vent or a fan in the gable end?
  • Reroute gas supply lines (to kitchen and garage) in preparation for taking my interior wall down.
  • Get cotoneaster out and plant ceanothus in its place. (DONE 28 Jan)
  • Get morea down to chez frere. I have realized that their absence will make the front a bit bare, so I first need something to replace them. (replacement ideas: San Clemente Island Bush Mallow (Malacothamnus clementinus), Giant Wild Rye (Leymus condensatus "Canyon Prince", not feeling too inspired here) (DONE, by fiat, 14 Feb)
  • Replace porch rail, preferably with something aesthetically pleasing and wide enough to easily hold a bottle of wine or some potted plants. (Lumber purchased 7 Feb.)75% done on 25 Mar 2007. DONE 5 April 2007
  • Get native plants in. (DONE 11 Feb)
  • Purchase two more 1 gal golden currants and one more western redbud.DONE 27 March. Payne Foundation didn't have WRB, but they did have some other goodies in addition to the Ribes aureum gracillium (golden currants).
  • Pick colors and paint some areas on the house in preparation for a whole house paint job. Use Color Preview 2000 from Benjamin Moore to digitally color my house.
  • Install attic vent in garage (cut stucco, frame, paper, wire, repair stucco). I've now painted the vent white. Need to cut a few framing members for inside the garage.
  • Complete electrical install and weather stripping at new French door. All parts at hand except outdoor light
  • Establish Coverdell account. DONE
  • Deck the Halls, etc. DONE
  • Cut concrete on porch for weep pit - the second of my flood mitigation attempts. Tools are on hand. Dig pit as deep as possible. Need stackable concrete block, 12" grate, and gravel. Neither Lowes nor Home Depot have the stackable block that I need. DONE. Off list since we have had no rain, the porch will get demoed eventually anyway, and the new gutters are highly effective at keeping water off.
Update: 25 January. I don't know if I can legally use PEX in my city. (Is there still a grounding requirement with PEX? Conduction would be through the water in that case.) If so, it might be the balm for my anticipated woes. It is not permitted in unincorporated LA County and cities that contract with LA County Public Works, "A third-party test lab analysis of the site water indicating that the water is corrosive and could create premature failure in metallic pipe is required for approval to re-pipe a single family home with PEX piping."

Update: 16 February and earlier - I've focused and retargeted the list a couple times. It's in rough priority order now.

In the mean time, sizing my plumbing lines the old fashioned way

Update: 12 Mar 2007. I've decided on copper and upon doing it myself, but first lights and access to the attic.

Update: 25 Mar 2007. Lights and access done!

Update: 27 March 2007. Picked up ribes aureum gracillium (golden currant), rosa calfornica (Cal rose), iris douglasiana, polypodium californica (California polypody fern), and epilobium canum latifolium (fuschia "route 66", I think). That fern was a mistake - it needs moist soil, contrary to what I thought I remembered. I think I'll plant it along the creek at my parent's place.

Update 05 April 2007. Finished up with porch rail enough to call it done. I'll revisit it when I paint.

Update 13 May 2007. Installed attic vent over my bedroom.

1 comment:

  1. May I recommend the plumbers at Windsor One? They don't mind working alongside the homeowner and bring all the specialized equipment. They really speed things up with their experience and specialized tools. $75/hr