Sunday, August 05, 2007

Not a Fan of the Fan, but a Fan of the Man

Here's a story about my ceiling fan. There used to be a light fixture. It came with the house, but it wasn't quite us. So I took it out, with the intention of putting up a ceiling fan that we bought at Lowe's some time ago when they matched the price of any Home Depot sale. We got fans. And a light kit. And bulbs, and stretcher bars that you hang the fans on. One for the office area and a very cute one for Caroline's room. Thinking that having had them for about 2 months and not putting them up wasn't a good use of resources, I was determined to install the fan for Caroline's room on Saturday. One thing lead to another, schedules got weird, mowing had to be done. Okay, maybe not Caroline's room, because that is her only source of light. I'll do the office one. We were to be over at Jim and Nancy's for dinner at about 6:20pm. Angie leaves with Caroline at about 5:40pm. Not quite enough time to get started, but I start to pull together tools, step stool, etc. I come home with Caroline and get her bathed and in bed by 9:00pm. I'm tired, but got to get it going. I take down the light fixture. Here's what I have...

So, got to put up a fan brace bar. My boss is overkill man, when it comes to construction. So, I got the Super Fan Brace. See below.

There was a stamped metal fan brace already installed. I can take that out. Wait. Notice the air vent just beyond the hole in the ceiling? You know how all modern construction is usually set at 16" to center studs? Except when they use 24". Like this house's ceiling joists. Great. The stamped metal fan brace is nailed into the joists, a little over 11" away from the hole, in a 7' ceiling. I fight with a claw hammer until midnight when I declare victory. The old brace has been defeated. I'm too tired and frustrated to continue.

Sunday afternoon, I resume. The instructions call for the blue wire to go to the blue wire, black to black, white to common, ground to ground. Except that I don't have a blue wire from the house. Only on the fan. I read and re-read and re-read the instructions. I've got it figured out.

Light kit goes on, just fine.

Then I need to change out the rotary dimmer. I've been doing all this work with the light switch turned off, but the breaker on. Spare me the lectures. I've heard them. Tonight. Twice. I go to the breaker box, turn off the dining room, because that is where the light is. Nope. It is on the Living Room circuit. Know how I found out? Zap! I then turn off the Living Room circuit, finish changing out the switch. Ah. The fan works. The lights don't. I start taking it all apart, checking the wires carefully. I disassemble the whole thing. It looks right. I call Jim, the best father-in-law in the US. (Runner up might be my dad to Angie, but I don't get to decide that.) He comes over. Looks at it. "Well, here's your problem, blue should go to black and black should go to black and white should go to white and bare should go to ground." And he said it in a way that didn't make me feel more foolish. He taped them up, we tested things and they work. He then handed me fan blades and screws and stuff.

Jim's a good man.
Thanks, Jim, for everything.


Doug said...

I have 2 lights and a garbage disposal... What's Jim's number?

Steve said...

Cool post. I saw your twitter-ish statuses, but it's nice to know the whole thing. And for you to be able to post about it, instead of being zapped from here to eternity.

And there's something defiant about doing regular electrical work in a Cisco shirt. Take that, electronics! I have conquered electricity. And take that, electricity. I work with stuff every day that's tons smarter than you are.