05 June, 2010

Pulling Wire

Or, the Further Adventures of Electrician Man...

But, first we need to cover the rest of the window bit even though it occurred more or less simultaneously with pulling wires, etc.

As you no doubt have seen, after the windows were installed, many of the windows still had a bit of gaposis under the louvers. This is standard practice down here. I don't know if its because of different spacing between individual louvers or different mechanical functions in the way the louvers are actually opened or closed, or what. Anyway, the practice is to leave some gap at the bottom that, after installation, is then back-filled with mortar, finished and painted. So that's what's happening here.

In this photo, Mayo is tucking mortar into the gap under the window frame and smoothing it out. They even install a small wood form to square-up the front edge.
Mayo finishing the window bottom
As you can see from this next photo, Mayo has also placed a form inside so it gets finished on both sides and painted.
View From the Other Side
So, once the mortar work is done, then the raw mortar is primed and that is allowed to dry - which down here doesn't take long at all. Here, you can see Malo applying the terra cotta finish coat to the window. That's it - all done.
Finishing the Windows
At about this same time, I brought out the little air-conditioning units for the bedrooms. In this view, you can see one of the units already installed and Mayo re-sizing the other opening. This opening was made by a guy that worked for Isidoro for a couple of weeks. Even though the correct measurements were written on the wall for him to follow, one opening ended up right and the other ended up wrong. Go figure.
Fixing the A/C Opening
Each unit was fastened to the wall with L-brackets and TapCon screws, then spray foam shot around the inner edges, which was then trimmed and caulked, and finally painted, so from the inside, they look really finished and 'built-in'.
A/C in #2 Bedroom
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Ok, now to the adventures of Electrician Man.

One of the things about concrete houses that we were essentially unfamiliar with, is how wiring is run in a concrete house - well, at least how it's usually done here in Belize.
Joe Pulling Wire
To run wire, folks usually use a product called Polyducto as a kind of flexible conduit for the wiring. it's basically an orange-colored tube, about the consistency of a common garden hose and is sold in 50' rolls (maybe more).

The Polyducto is positioned within walls and floors and ceilings as the house is built up, which is fine as far as that goes. What is supposed to happen is that each end of the tubing is capped with tape to prevent concrete running into the tubing when the concrete floors or ceilings are poured. What can also happen, since the tubing is flexible, is that it can easily collapse under the weight of concrete - especially if someone steps on it during the concrete casting process.

In either case, the electrician then has to try to break through the concrete plug in the Polyducto, or to try and force wiring through a pinched bit of tubing.

If they're unsuccessful doing that, then what has to happen is what we had to do. Channels have to be cut in the wall to run Polyducto or some similar product to allow circuits to be completed. In this example, Malo is cutting a channel from a working power circuit up to a switch that will control an outside motion-detector light.
Cutting a Channel
Running channels around corners presents other issues as well as the aforementioned kinking problem. Corners, like this that Mayo is cutting, below, frequently have concrete columns that were cast before the wall was built and are much harder to cut through and consequently, to run the wire.
Mayo Cutting A Corner Channel
Of course, this would all have been easier if there had been no paint on the wall. Hmmmm, I think there's a lesson in there somewhere.
Mayo Patching the Channel
We had to have the guys cut about six channels and in addition, they also had to run some surface wiring in places where cutting a channel was simply not practical.

Of course, each channel means it has have Polyducto added to it, then it is patched with concrete and smoothed out to be ready for painting.
Final Smoothing of the Mortar
In this example, we used some flexible tubing in order to make the tight corner bend. Polyducto would not have been good for this tight cornering.
Corner Bridged
Once you have it all smoothed and dried, then it's ready for priming and painting. Hopefully, you'll be able to match everything up properly and the cut won't be too noticable.
Ready to Go
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 One last item for now. I also got the on-demand water heater installed and hooked up. I don't, as yet, have a butane bottle for it, nor do I have a vent pipe for it nor a hole to vent the pipe out. That'll all come when it needs to. Showering right now, I don't know anyone here who uses hot water for showering at this time of year.
On-Demand Water Heater
Well, that's it for this issue of 'Electrician Man'. Stay tuned for more adventures as they come.

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