Tony Sestito
Tony Sestito PowerDork
4/6/20 10:37 a.m.

One of the projects I'm trying to get done while being stuck at home forever is cleaning, organizing, and fixing my garage.

My garage is a small detached one-car built in the 1940's when my house was built, and for lack of a better term, it's falling apart. Due to the laws in my area, I can't just knock it down and build a new one, because the neighbors' house is too close to it and it's right on the property line. I can, however, restore it completely, and there's barely enough of it left to do that, so that's the route I'm taking. The paint is peeling, the exterior trim is in bad shape, some spots have some severe wood rot, and the side door needs to be replaced big time. It's the cheap, rusty Miata of garages. What's good about it is that it's still a standing garage, it has a non-leaky roof, it has a concrete pad under it, and it has power.

A previous owner hung up a bunch of insulation, which is now falling off the roof and walls. Over the weekend, I started to staple it back up. And there was an incident.

While trying to hang this bit of insulation back up, I nicked this wire with the stapler while it was behind the insulation (hence the tape). I knew the wire was back there, but it slipped from where I thought it was and stupidity occurred. Immediately, I smelled burning insulation, so I shut down the circuit. After taping it up, it was not melty/hot/etc, and everything on the circuit still worked, but I don't trust it and I need to replace that run. This is the 15A circuit that runs the lights too. Stupid!!! sad

The fun part: that run goes right into the breaker box. There are actually 2 white wires that go in on the same spot on that breaker, going to opposite ends of the garage (it's the leftmost breaker).

It goes from the box, up through that stud to the left, and into a junction box. I've never dabbled in household wiring other than wiring a few lights and outlets, but it should be relatively easy, theoretically. I plan on shutting the main off, replacing the run, and calling it done. Makes sense right?

I'm making this a teachable moment. I need to pay better attention when working on things.


While poking around, I found some wires that go to nothing! Great!

I assume this one went to a long-gone exterior light. I plan on removing it while the power's off, even though I suspect it's no longer hooked up to anything.


There seems to be some debate on how often you should drain the water in your air compressor tank. Draining it NEVER is probably not the recommended interval.

Sludgy chunks came out of this thing. I rarely use the compressor, but I don't think I've ever drained it. Again, stupid!!! I bought it probably 5-6 years ago used locally, and the guy recommended that I replace the drain when I bought it. I bought one, but lost it in the abyss that was my garage. I found the drain while cleaning so I installed it.

I also cleaned it up for probably the first time ever.

I do have another compressor project (a frankensteined 20 gallon Dayton Speedaire with a 25 gallon Craftsman auxiliary tank) but this one works great for most of the simple stuff I need it for. 

Be careful out there, guys!

GhiaMonster Reader
4/6/20 10:50 a.m.

I first came expecting something like a red desk stapler and was really intrigued how you could do that. At least you found it and didn't have to spend a lot of time tearing things back apart to figure out why the circuit died.

Duke MegaDork
4/6/20 10:53 a.m.

Fun fact:  kraft-faced insulation is pretty flammable and should not be left exposed.  If you're not going to cover that up, I suggest you replace it with FSK - foil-faced - insulation that is rated for exposure.

Goof luck with the garage rebuild!


mad_machine MegaDork
4/6/20 10:53 a.m.

what little wiring you have in that garage makes me shudder. Glad you did not burn anything down or electrocute yourself in the process

Tony Sestito
Tony Sestito PowerDork
4/6/20 11:00 a.m.

In reply to mad_machine :

The wiring in this garage is atrocious. The whole garage is, to be honest. Anything I do in there will be a vast improvement.

I plan on replacing the insulation at some point sooner than later, but there are structural concerns that have to be addressed first.

Robbie (Forum Supporter)
Robbie (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
4/6/20 1:27 p.m.

I guess that's one benefit of conduit - its pretty hard to shoot a staple through on accident.

BoxheadTim MegaDork
4/6/20 1:51 p.m.

In reply to Tony Sestito :

Looks like the same guy who did the wiring in my shop/garage also did the wiring in yours.

JoeyM Mod Squad
4/6/20 2:08 p.m.

In reply to Tony Sestito :

I'm glad you were still in the garage and could smell it. That is scary!

Mr_Asa HalfDork
4/6/20 2:24 p.m.

Lucky you were still in there working!

About the compressor, a shop I worked at apparently had literally never emptied their compressor.  It was a massive thing, over 100 gallon tank or so?  I started working there and everyone always told me not to worry about the excessive water coming out of the tools when we used them and that the compressor kicked on and off so often because it was so old.  "Its Florida, there's going to be moisture in the lines"  It finally got so bad that a die-grinder I had just wouldn't work.  I asked the shop foreman when they last emptied the system and he looked at me like I had rats climbing out of my hair.

I had to go out on a call to do some work outside the shop, but before I left I told him to look under the tank and see if there was a valve.  Any water in it would drain out and everything should work better.

I came back about two hours later and almost got fired.  Entire shop floor was covered with nasty rust colored water.  All work had stopped, everyone had a mop or a broom or something and was trying to herd the water out.  Shop foreman was literally hopping mad at me.  Luckily the owner came out shortly after I got back and told him to stop being mad at me cause it wasn't my fault.

mad_machine MegaDork
4/6/20 5:10 p.m.

I would be worried about splitting welds on those compressors now. Seen and heard one go, was not fun

Jay_W SuperDork
4/6/20 7:33 p.m.

Don't beat yerself up, I may have tried to light my garage on fire in a more stupider fashion than that. Diagnosing a no start issue, plugs out and laying on the valve cover. Key on, I can hear the fuel pump so at least I have that goin for me, which is great. So let's crank the engine over and check for spark. Hindsight says that the pump usually comes on, reaches pressure, and shuts off. But this little detail eluded me. The no-start issue was a bad ECU board that stuck the injectors on. So the cylinders were full of gas. That I subsequently geysered clear up to the rafters when I turned the engine over. And my HK$ ignition coil? It was workin' a peach, throwing big fat inchlong sparks from plugs to valve cover. This combination of events created one of those like-it-just-happened memories that will never. Ever. Leave me. How this didn't end up with us  being homeless I'll never know. Sometimes it really is better to be lucky than good I guess. 

NoviceClass New Reader
4/6/20 11:39 p.m.

I discovered that I drained my compressor a lot more when I put an L and extension on the drain so it was easily accessible, and I had to look at it whenever I turned the thing on/off

Ransom (Forum Supporter)
Ransom (Forum Supporter) UltimaDork
4/6/20 11:47 p.m.

Don't feel too bad. We had professionals put a fastener through wiring after other (or conceivably the same) professionals had failed to tighten the ground properly at the box, resulting fortunately in no more than a mild shock for my wife. Lucky it was just that, and that it happened, because that's what brought it to our attention over a year after the wiring and house were buttoned up.

So glad the house didn't burn down.

Appleseed MegaDork
4/7/20 2:12 a.m.

This is 100% why Romex sucks the sweat off a dead man's ass.

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