Inspections and insulation



The inspectors came earlier this week. The plumbing and mechanical passed without issue. The electrical (which is what I did myself) didn’t quite pass, but, thankfully, that wasn’t because I had done anything wrong. It just turned out that steps I thought would be taken after the rough-in inspection needed to be done before. Namely, I need to get the cables for all the circuits actually inside the main and I need to get cables in boxes even where existing switches are going to be replaced and put on different circuits.

I was thinking I’d put in a subpanel for the new circuits, but after consulting with my electrician friend, I decided to put in several half-space breakers in the main instead. I’ve got a total of eight new circuits going in. There are two free spaces on the main panel, plus the current circuit feeding the basement. The inspector confirmed the main panel could handle the load. The only problem is that when I ran the wires, I did so thinking they’d go in a subpanel to the right of the main panel. Instead, since the top breakouts are mostly in use, the wires are going to have to down, over and up through the bottom. I don’t think I left enough length for that in most cases, so I may need to put in a junction box or something. My friend’s coming into consult. Once we get that figured out, I’ll call the inspector back in.

With the inspections essentially done, I worked on insulation this weekend. I had to wear a respirator and long sleeves, which made it hot, sweaty, uncomfortable work.  I ended up with an upper-body rash after. And, of course, I did at least one stupid thing: I bought the pre-cut baffles instead of rolls. That wasn’t the stupid thing. Buying the baffles in the wrong width was. I accidentally picked up two 23-inch wide packages instead of the 15-inch wide I needed. I didn’t figure it out until I opened one package, so I tried cutting them to size. I soon realized I would end up with a lot of waste that way, so I took the unopened package back and bought the correct width.

It worked out, though. There were a couple of places where the studs ended up more than 15-inches apart, and I was able to use the scrap pieces to fill in gaps where the studs were closer together.

I didn’t expect putting up the insulation to be a big deal, and it wasn’t, stupid mistakes aside. But it made a larger difference in the look and feel of the basement than I expected. Suddenly, it started to feel more like a finished room. The quality of the sound down there is even different. I listen to music while I work, and I noticed as I was wrapping up today that the music sounded better. The bass was deeper. The highs were clearer. There was less echo and reflection.

After months of what felt like mostly spinning my wheels with the wiring, with very little sense of progress on the overall project, suddenly, after a day and a half of work, I felt like I’d made a huge jump forward. It’s mostly illusory, I know — both the perceived lack of progress and this weekend’s perceived leap. But, illusion or no, I suddenly feel much closer to the final destination than I have since the framing was completed.

Soon enough, it will be time to start with the drywall. Then I’ll really feel like progress is being made.

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