Monday, January 5, 2015

More Homeowner Trials and Tribulations...

Checked a bunch of little projects off the honey-do list this weekend. Freedom House is ten (going on 11) years old, and little things are starting to wear out, as they tend to do. We've rebuilt one toilet already, and this weekend I rebuilt two more (really just dropping in a new fill valve, which is so pitifully easy even I can do it).

The second toilet rebuild took about five minutes, start to finish, and if I'd had a third valve handy, I'd have gone down into the basement and rebuilt that one as well, that's how easy it was. It's nice to have toilets that flush again... Y'know, it's funny. A $7.50 part and all of a sudden there's no more flush toilet. Pretty much the hallmark of advanced civilization and it can be thwarted by a $0.10 piece of plastic. But I digress.

Also tackled the cold water pipes in the basement, and got about 24 feet covered in insulation. We'd been seeing some condensation when running consecutive loads of laundry, so the pipes got wrapped, and it's a good thing I tackled it when I did, because I found out that the freezer had stopped working...

As it turns out, I caught it pretty soon after it stopped working, because 90% of the contents were still frozen (and the remainder was close enough). The freezer is fine, it turns out; the electrical outlet it was plugged into gave up the ghost. Now, me and electrical work, we have an understanding. I don't attempt it, and it doesn't kill me.

I messed around with some serious electrical in another life, and came very close to making a rather permanent mistake, so I'm a little leery of playing around with anything more electrical than swapping out batteries in the smoke detectors, so I'll defer to an electrician for this (we need to have an electrician out for unrelated work anyways).

One of the things I thought about installing in the basement is a light fixture with an electrical outlet wired in. Dad G. had a couple put into his new workshop, and it seems to be exactly the solution I need for my work area. I picked up a couple cheap 4' fluorescent lights, and with the plug in the light socket, I can turn on both the fluorescent and the standard bulb at the same time.

Then I saw this:


Socket with Outlets.

I've got to be missing something. For $2.50, I get a pair of plugs I can screw into a light socket and control either with a light switch or a pull chain (there's two lights in the workshop, each controlled separately). I think I might pick up a couple and an extra fluorescent fixture and have more light in the basement.

Anyone have experience with these, good or bad?

That is all.

19 comments:

Ted said...

Well...... First it's not grounded.

And all the amps from the cord run through that small aluminum contact in the socket. So don't expect to be able to run any power through it.

..... It's likely a code violation.

Running extension cords near a bare bulb is never a good idea.


......... But other than that.........

Anonymous said...

For socket with outlets, go for it -- IF -- you are talking low draw. Plug a florescent light into it and that's fine. Don't try running a table saw off it. Anything with high current draw is a bad choice. I have two in my basement/shop. Each is simply a means of plugging in florescent lights that provide better overall lighting in my small area but the units are on different circuits. I do not try to run tools, heaters etc. on them. I am not nearly as dumb as my wife says I look.

Armed Texan said...

As mentioned in other comments, the only limitation is load. If the light fixture is rated for 75 watts, then you had better be sure that the combined load (bulb plus items plugged in) do not exceed .68 amps. So if you plug in a 19 watt mercury-hazard bulb, would have only half an amp to play with.

Stretch said...

A Voltmeter is worth it's weight in gold.
NEVER trust the labels on the breaker box. Hell, I helped label my breaker box and still check the outlet w/Voltmeter before messing with outlet.

Evyl Robot Michael said...

I've got one of those on the back porch with Christmas lights plugged into it. Those stay up year round. Yes, I'm a bit redneck.

Wally said...

Not a good plan. As stated above, not grounded. The feeding socket isn't rated for much more current than the bulb itself. Very likely doesn't meet code for the ground issue.

And making a work around that is unsafe and doesn't meet code is a bad combination.

B said...

'taint hard to change a socket. Really.

Douglas2 said...

The standard porcelain utility ceiling lampholders that I've encountered are rated for 600 Watt draw (not to mention the heat of a 600W lamp...). But perhaps the quality has declined so that ones made 10-years ago aren't up to that anymore.

The lamp socket adapters such as in your picture that I have encountered are all rated for 200 Watts or more.

I think you will have no trouble running a few more florescent lights with these.

David said...

I have two of them in the garage. Both have the pull chain on/off for the plugs. The incandescent bulbs in them come on when you flip the switch on the garage wall so you can walk through the garage without killing yourself. The pull chains turn on the cheap 2 bulb florescent light fixtures over the reloading bench and the work bench. Been using it that way for almost 25 years. I did staple the florescent light cords to the ceiling so they wouldn't get near the bulbs.

Old NFO said...

What Ted said...

Chad said...

Yep, another vote for what Ted said. I'm in pretty good company there :)

LCB said...

What others have said about grounding. AND...don't run anything without having rubber soles on in the basement. If the ground on something fails, you don't want to trust concrete to keep your body from grounding out...

Opinionated Grump (Rich in NC) said...

those plug lightbulb socket thingies???
Welcome to the early part of the Twentieth Century. They've been around that long, but if you are allergic to electricity (I'm not, I started with electric when I was three) you probably didn't know about them. Light strips, Dremel Moto tool, even battery chargers will not kill that socket thingie (technical term, right there that is)

Good thing you found it.

HAve a bright, safe basement.


Rich in NC

Farm.Dad said...

I say GO FOR IT !! after all.. Whats the worst that can happen from cheaping out ?? LOL

ProudHillbilly said...

Shush! There's a reason I keep the light fixture I replaced in the downstairs bath off... One of these days I'll get a real electrician to fix what I did.

Will said...

I found that adapter to be useful in a storage unit.
Needed to plug in a drill and saw, to build some shelves. They only come with the single light socket in the ceiling... Oh, and the manager was annoyed when he saw it, but I was almost done... 2x4's braced from wall to wall, using full sheets of plywood for shelves, and you can turn a 10x20 storage unit into a useful space, when it has 10 to 12 ft ceilings! (no nails or screws into the structure, per the rental agreement :D )

Just remembered that I have a 4 tube fluorescent fixture in the garage that plugs into one of those. No, wait, I think there are TWO plugged into it. It's a 45 year old light socket on the wall. Now, the 25 year old ones in the closets of the houses I work on? THOSE things are junk. Most don't work anymore.

Heck, I think that socket adaptor is at least 25 years old!

When I take the car parts off the shelf that sits under that socket, I think I'll change it to a double outlet. That thing was only supposed to be a temporary setup. (y'all know how temp turns into permanent)

Will said...

You know there is a single plug adaptor that threads into a socket. Looks like a lamp base. You could turn that thing into a TRIPLE outlet!

PJS said...

How many gun bloggers does it take to screw in a socket? :)

Anonymous said...

In a basement especially if it has a concrete floor a ground is a must for a receptacle even if you are plugging a fluorescent light into it.
The pull chain stopped giving me a tingle after I connected the ground wire the previous owner didn't feel was needed when he added the receptical.