Friday, December 19, 2014

Small Projects and Small Annoyances

This post is about both home improvement and home automation. Sometimes a project isn't as easy as it should be. For example, when installing some Z-Wave light switches to control my yard lights,  I ran into a strange problem. A previous owner (I am assuming) had installed door trim over a portion of the gang box. They trimmed the cover to fit and I had never even noticed it.

In order to do a proper looking installation, I needed to remove the old box and put in a new one with enough space to clear the trim. Step one was flipping the breaker and testing to ensure that power was indeed cut off. I recommend a non-contact tester. Next I removed the old switches, labelled the wires and photographed everything.

Since power was cut to my entire basement, I used a head-mounted flashlight which is definitely handy. Next, I cut a whole a few inches above the box to pull all of the wires through so that they were out of the way.

The old box took some work to get out. I ended up using my cutoff attachment to cut the nails. Thankfully, an "old work" gang box is super easy to install. Once I fed the wires back through the box, I needed to patch the space between the box and the trim. I decided to use a paint stir for support.

Using drywall screws to hold it in place, I then cut a piece of drywall to fit and reinstalled the new switches.

Next, I flipped the breaker on and tested to ensure the switches were working properly.

All that is left is to finish the job. I applied some patch material and allowed it to dry.

After a few rounds of sanding and reapplication, it was time to paint and enjoy my new SmartThings device!

A job that probably should have taken 15 minutes ended up taking a few hours. That happens from time-to-time and it certainly won't be the last time it happens to me. It was a challenge worth tackling though and I am happy with my new remotely controlled light switch.


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