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   With the attic empty and well lite, I had the task of pulling up floor boards to find all the knob-and-tube runs.  I should have worn a respirator.  Under the floor boards is blown-in insulation, and moving it around throws up tons of dust.  However, I found all the light fixtures and drops to light switches.  With this exposure the electrician should be able to replace everything.
   The attic had a single light.  That no longer functions thanks to my handy work.  We need more light, so I went to my favourite home improvement store and found a sale in LED shop lights.  I picked up 6 of these 3000 lumen fixtures.  The mounting pattern is to help light everything as the attic fills with all the stuff that will go back in it.  The lights are a lot brighter than I initially though, so I think I may have gone a bit overboard.  However, I can see everything now.
   I forgot my camera when we started so this picture of the attic is of it partly cleared out.  The guys really came together today and we cleaned out the entire attic in about 4 hours.  We have one empty bedroom since Zach moved out, and have placed all the attic items in this room.  Now we have a pile of garbage in the backyard that needs to go to the dump.  The attic contained many items that came with the house, and most of those have been moved to the trash pile.
   Met with an electrician and got the verdict on my wiring snafu.  Turns out all the wiring for the second floor lights is knob-and-tube.  He isn't allowed to reconnect this wiring.  I knew there was knob-and-tube in the attic, but I didn't know all the lights on the second floor were as well.  So I asked for a quote to replace it all, and given a reasonable number, I decided to go ahead and have it all replaced.  This was on my list to have done anyway, and now is as good a time as any.
   In order to make this happen, I need to empty the attic.  That will be the weekend's task.

September 27, 2020

Stink Mouse and my Electrical "Stupid"

There is a lot of work to be done to fix up the wall before rebuilding my setup. The first task will be mouse-proofing and insulating the rim joist. Our house was moved sometime around 1980. Because of this our basement is much newer than the rest of the house. Most of it is a poured concrete foundation, but there are a couple areas of cinder block that start 5’ off the basement floor. My guess is that these areas are where the beams that supported the house during the move were placed, but I cannot be sure.

At some locations along where the cinder block and rim joist contact there are exposed holes in the cinder block. I would have thought all the cinder block would have had these holes, but that is not the case—only some of them do. These holes are open and I could put my hand into them and reach to the other side of the rim joist. This section of the basement is up against an enclosed porch. As far as I know, there is no access under the porch. However, mice likely have direct access to this crawl space and these holes would allow easy access into the house. Cold air can also blow in through this gap, so closing it is a requirement.

The easiest way to close the hole would be to stuff something into it, but it needs to be mouse-proof. I watched a video where holes were closed up with a combination of thick steal wool and insulating foam sealants. Mice don’t like chewing through steal wool as it will cut up their mouths. So I jammed a bunch of steal wool into the holes and then filled it was foam sealant.

I won’t be able to work with the areas I used the foam sealant until it drys, but I was able insulate a section of about 6 feet in length. I used 2” extruded polystyrene. It comes in 4’x8’ sheets and I cut with the table saw it into 7” strips to fit in the rafters. After getting it into place I used foam sealants to fill in the gaps. When that drys I plan to add a bead of calk along the edges and that should offer improved insulating. I decided to double up the 2” polystyrene along the west wall because at 4” it is nearly flush with the outer wall. I plan to cover this wall with more polystyrene and I’d rather there be no gap.

There is a bedroom in the basement used as a guest room. It is partly finished with a ceiling and two walls that are not part of the foundation. The ceiling is not something I like as the drywall blocks access to the wiring, and the breaker panel is in this room. There likely also a mouse problem here as well that needs to be dealt with, but this is another project. One thing I found looking at the corner of my area the joins with the bedroom was a set of crusty old wiring. I thought this wiring went to the front porch and decided to cut it, figuring if I lost power there I could run a new line. However, the porch continued to work fine. I didn’t think much of it until Steve came down to ask why his bedroom light went out. Turns out I cut the power to all the second floor lighting. The outlets in the bedrooms still work. So tomorrow I will need to call an electrician. I’d like a fix that doesn’t involve this scary looking wire.

Until I can get an electrician to come out I am going to hold on insulation that section of the wall as it will block the wiring.