Making Things More Comfortable

My garage is a pretty miserable place most of the year. In the summer it’s +100°F warmer than the outside temperature and has no breeze, even on the windiest of days. In the winter it’s -30°F colder. Basically, it’s comfortable to work in there about 6-days a year. I have a box fan that I’ve been using for the last 3-4 years to move the air and provide the illusion of temperature control, but I decided to add some ceiling fans and wired up a couple of fan boxes into the rafters. Two years later… I found these 56-inch fans at Menards for $40 a piece. I was going to get something at the Habitat for Humanity ReStore, but these are probably a better option.

They come with the down rod installed, and I chose to leave that in place for this first one. I may change that. It’s 8-feet from the garage floor to the blades, but it feels low, and I’m sure I’m going to hit it with something sooner rather than later. It looks awfully close to the wall in some of those pictures, and it’s not far away, for sure. But there is actually more than a foot of clearance and it would really have to get to swinging to make contact.

As with all of my projects, what seemed like a simple project ended up not being quite so simple and ended taking most of Saturday afternoon to get to this point. The issues? Wiring. It was all the wiring. Sure there was wire there and everything worked, but there were changes that needed to be made.

The first issue was the fans themselves, which do not have pull chains and instead have a 120-volt inline 5-speed control switch. The problem being that the fan locations were in the same circuit as the lights. I didn’t want the fans running anytime the lights were on and I didn’t want the lights on anytime I was using the fans. So I needed to seperate those two things and run a new circuit dedicated to the fans.

I disconnected the switch line and wired it to the first light fixture and left all the rest of the wiring for the lights alone. That was probably the easiest part of the job, as there was plenty of extra wire and the fixture is easy to work on. The fan circuit comes off the 20-amp line I ran to the garage a while back.

But as long as I’m doing wiring I should do a couple things. First, I need to get rid of the extension cord that has been powering the garage door opener since I moved in 6-years ago (and for I don’t want to know how long before then). It was old and brittle and the shell cracked and split everywhere I bent it. It was time to get that gone. Second, I should move the wiring in the wall where I’d like to put a door in the back wall of the garage.

And so, those are the things I did. It only took one trip to Home Depot and while I didn’t get the second fan wired in, everything else I wanted is done.

I moved the two existing outlets, the new 20-amp and the older, existing garage outlet, over two stud spaces. I came off the new outlet and mounted the fan control above it and then continued up and over to the first fan. From that fan, I added a junction box to the old wiring that went to the light, so that I can jump over to fan #2 in the near future. If I remove that drop leg on the fan, I’ll rerun a new wire over there, but if not, this’ll work to splice my wires. I also came off the new outlet and ran wire up and over the future door location, down the other side, and added a quad-outlet near the workbench. From that quad-outlet I ran a wire up to the garage door opener and added a duplex outlet above it. No more extension cord.

And that, dear friend, is the long and short of my saturday project. I was going to tell you about the basement as well, but this is a pretty long post. I’ll save that for the next one. For now, I need to get cracking on some Biology homework. Later.