Tiny House – Wiring 

Of all the systems in the tiny house, electric is the one that I understand the least.  I vaguely remember my physics class from high school and talking about amps, watts, and voltage, but I can’t for the life of me tell you what they do or why they’re important.

Oh, electricity.

For the past several months I’ve been researching wiring, solar-powered systems, batteries, and I still have a headache.  Some blogs I find say, “Oh, wiring is EASY!  Just run wire in the walls and attach it to the box with the blinky lights and switches and the thing and the face.”  At least that’s what it ends up sounding like in my head.  Those people that say electric stuff is easy must be electronic geniuses.

I actually did consider installing all the wire myself, but then a friend told me I needed a “wiring plan” and I about had an emotional breakdown.

how that works

Therefore, I hired an electrician to install all the things.  Sorry, beyond wires and light switches I don’t know the names for electronic stuff.  My electrician’s name is Tom Weldon and he really is an electronic genius.  If you need electric work, here is Tom’s website:  http://www.welldoneelectric.com/

I’m so glad there are people like him who see an electric system as “no big deal” as opposed to…other people…who research electric systems until any mention of a breaker panel makes them tear up so they decide to go on the youtube and watch cat videos instead.

Tom told me that yes, I do need a wiring plan, but it can be as simple as telling him where I want switches and outlets.  Sweet!  I can handle that.  To make it all “pretty” I put the plan in Excel.  Why?  Because I’m in finance, that’s the program I know, and it looks better than drawing on notebook paper.  Also, it worked, so who cares.

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In my research, I did learn that in order to get insurance you need to have one of two things:

1 – Inspection of the wiring work, or

2 – A licensed electrician do the installation

This is the Portland, OR, insurance company where I found the information:  http://www.insuremytinyhome.com/

Insurance was the biggest reason I hired out the electric.  Also because I don’t want my cool little house to go down in flames because I didn’t get the “right gauge” and I “accidentally crossed” all the “wire connectors.”

Once I pick up my solar panels and other stuff that I just ordered, we can finish out the electric system!

 

 

Tiny House: Blessed Interruptions

Ok, so it’s been a while.  Two months or so?  Anyway, I haven’t given up on building, died, or otherwise smacked my little head on the pavement.  Here’s a recap of what’s happened since January…

All along, I’ve had this plan.  A grand plan really of building a tiny house, doing all the construction myself, being done in less than a year, and under budget.  What can I say, I dream big!

To this point, most of the construction I’ve done myself.  I hired out the framing because all those materials are super heavy and it would’ve taken me months to hoist all that stuff myself.  I hired out the electric work because I don’t want to go down in flames and I want to eventually get insurance (which you can’t get unless you have a licensed electrician do the install or get your work inspected).  And now I’ve hired out the plumbing because I don’t want to drown in my sleep.

At any rate, I’m slowly but surely plodding along, learning you have to caulk everything, where to get the best deals on flooring and fixtures, and what “deburring” means.  Then around mid-January while I was waiting on the weather to warm up (so I could put caulk on the exterior), I got an email that went something like this:

“Hey guess what?  Some people that were supposed to lead a kid’s program at a conference bailed at the last minute.  Is there any way you can help out?  Oh yeah, the conference is in a month and it’s in Thailand.”

My first thought was…well, I didn’t think at first, I laughed.  If ever there was an impossible situation, it was this.  Then secondly, I thought, “Um, no.  There’s no way!”  But I asked my friend to give me two days to give her an answer and that I’d pray about it.

In those two days, I tried to figure out every way it could possibly work.  As I prayed, I made a list of all the “things” in my head that I thought needed to be taken care of in order for me to go.  The list is in a journal somewhere that is currently in a box, but the jist is this:  A last-minute international flight? Lodging for almost two weeks?  No time off work?  A house-sitter? AND I’m supposed to be moved out of the condo and in to the interim-room-but-not-quite-the-tiny-house-yet situation by March 1.  If I went to the conference, I’d be home with just one week to move out.

After the two days were up, I knew I had to approach my boss about the time off.  Oh, AND I work in finance…this time of year is budget season otherwise known as “the busiest season of the year.”

Then the most amazing thing happened:  every question was answered and every detail fell in to place.  I literally did nothing.  Boss was ok with me being gone.  I had enough air miles to get a flight for free.  Lodging was taken care of. A family friend was stoked to stay at the condo for two weeks.  And some great friends offered to help me move when I got back to town.

So off I went!  It was a whirlwind full of hot weather, new languages, smiling kiddos, and sweet friends.

Here are the highlights of the blessed interruption to “my plans”…

Flying out of SF

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1st morning in Hua Hin, Thailand…those are local fishermen who work for the beach restaurant just down the way

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Jet lag helps you get up with the sunrise…also, it was so glorious I didn’t want to miss it!DSC00897DSC00900

Mango in a bag.

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Huge tropical flowers DSC00913DSC00914DSC00915

 

The kiddos…I helped with the crafts so everyday we made the stickiest, glittery-est messes…DSC00936

 

…decorating our flip flops…DSC00939DSC00953

 

…and name tags…DSC00955

 

…making Valentines for parents…DSC00963DSC00964

 

and eating frozen jello….which looked disgusting but she loved it.DSC00968

They also learned songs which they performed for the parents at the end of the conference…DSC00976

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After the conference, I got to see a little of the country… like how they “do” electricityDSC00997

 

…and construction…DSC00994

 

…driving…which is not as scary as driving in India…DSC01005

 

…and shopping at the night market.DSC01018DSC01016DSC01008DSC01009DSC00970