French Wiring Makes No Sense To Me

I found out today that I don’t like running flex. I already said I hated to hang drywall studs and rails, well I hate flex, too. They have the dumbest stuff here. Everything electrical is run on this stuff that you would put only in your car in the states. What’s more, you can’t pull it through the studs because it gets stuck! We spent so much time finishing up the master bedroom and kitchen that the day was passing us by. Dude and I still hadn’t had time to figure out what we were going to do with the kitchen.

See, all our cabinets are going to be put in later, after we move in, but in order to run the electrical you have to plan out what you want so you have all the lights, plugs and switches in the right areas. I’m having a huge issue with the kitchen because I absolutely HATE everything that France is throwing at me in the way of cabinetry. It’s all this modern junk that just won’t work in my ancient style house. I definitely want to be modernized, but I don’t want it to LOOK all modernized. This is a problem and Dude keeps harping at me to hurry up and figure it out.

Well, I told him that I knew what I DIDN’T want, did that help? He said, “No!” So he ran the all the lines according to what he thought is should be and I guess we will just have to work around it and find something that will work for us. I can do that……I think.

Once the flex was all run in both the master bedroom and the kitchen we got to run the phone lines. So now I felt all professional and stuff. I was really getting my construction on these past few weeks and learning a lot. I had no problem with the learning aspect. The problem that both Dude and I were having was that everything we did was taking too long. We had to do things and then REDO them a bunch of times because some of the materials were just crap, some of the things we wanted just weren’t working out and of course, there was only the two of us. If Extreme Home Makeover were here, they could have busted this job out in no time. Unfortunately, they aren’t in France. We just had to keep making do.

The phone wires had to be fished through the two rooms and then all the way through one of the flex lines down into the garage and across the ceiling of the garage to the other side where the main panel was going to be. What a pain! Luckily Dude has this awesome item called Fish Tape.

This thing is the bomb and he brought it from the states. They don’t have it here. Tant pis for the French, seriously. He was able to put the Fish Tape into the end of the flex and send it all the way up the “autoroute” to the master bedroom. This is where he attached all the phone wires. While he was in the master bedroom, I was in the garage pulling on the Fish Tape which was bringing all the wires down to me. This worked like a dream and there is no way we would have gotten those phone wires through that stupid little flex they have here without it. Thank goodness for some great inventions and Dude’s insight to bringing it with us!

Next was the hanging the drywall in the kitchen. This went okay, the problem came after we hung the drywall. With the wall closed up, we couldn’t see where we placed all the flex for the electrical. They have the stupidest system here! They don’t have electrical boxes that hang on the studs and then you run everything and THEN you hang the drywall. Oh…NO…. They do it all backwards and crazy. First you run the flex, then you close up the walls with drywall, then you have to play hide and go seek to find your flex runs, then you guess where the holes for the boxes are going to be, then you cut the holes in the drywall and hope you found the right spot (cuz that’s where the boxes sit-not screwed down to the studs like they should be!), then you have to try and find your flex lines to put them in the boxes and then you run your wire.

Now I am not an electrician, but this is the stupidest, time wasting, piece of junk that I have ever heard! It’s all backwards. Luckily for us, Dude told me to take pictures of the wall before we covered it with drywall or we would have never remembered where we ran the lines! How lame is that??? What would we have done if I was not so snap happy???!! We would have had to tear out all the drywall, is what we would have done. Then Dude and I would have been in the paper the next day cuz we would have jumped from our third story window out of total frustration for the construction stupidity that goes on here.

Well, thanks to my photos, we figured out where to cut the holes for the electrical boxes, but then we still had to fish around blindly to find the flex to put into the box! Another problem… the holes for the boxes were so small that we couldn’t get our hands in them to find our flex! Dude was sooooooo pissed by now, cuz he is an electrician by trade and knows how it should be to make life easy and the job to flow, and this was not the way. We were battling with another time wasting issue. Also, you can’t cut the holes in the drywall any bigger to reach your hand in them cuz then your stupid little box won’t fit! Ahhhhhhhh!

So now because we couldn’t find our flex lines we had to invent a tool to drop into the holes to grab the flex and pull it out. Then when going to put the flex into these rinky dink boxes, there was no way for the flex to stay put. It just hangs in there ready to fall out of the box at any moment! There is no such thing here as flex connectors to keep it in! That is a safety hazard right there, folks. If my house was made out of wood, every night my prayers would start with, “Dear Lord, please don’t let the flex fall out of the electrical boxes and catch this house on fire…..” I am dead serious about that, too.

So, once again, after using what we learned from MacGyver and wasting away more hours, we finally finished the ONE wall we had to do in the kitchen.

All the while, I am hearing Father Time ticking away and now we have only two weeks before the big moving day and a house that is nowhere near being finished 😦

If you want to see the photos of our house renovation , they appear on Flickr. To get there just click on the “More Photos” option under Photos on Flickr.

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About backyardprovence

I was finally able to realized my dream of living in France when I moved here in 2010. I love to read,I love history and road trips. I want to be doing anything outside in the fresh air. I want to have an entire room devoted to a personal library.

Posted on August 28, 2011, in The House of the Farmer and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 9 Comments.

  1. Well I must say that unless you are a Frenchman I don’t think anyone fully understands French wiring. I spent two years in France working as an electrician. To this day I still don’t fully understand their system of wiring.

    • I’m not even sure the French understand it by the look of the old stuff! I feel like I just went back in time to the 70’s or 80’s when I walk the electrical aisle of the store. I actually feel bad for these guys and what they have to work with. It can’t be easy.

      • Believe me when I say that French wiring is a nightmare, as well as being very dangerous.

      • Dangerous is exactly right! Half the time I’m scared to plug anything in. What’s with the plugs that have no ground! Also, my husband checked all the plugs around my office and he said there was no rhyme or reason to it. They interchange the hot and neutral! What the heck is with that? Yup- you could say I am a little worried:)

  2. I went to France with the intention of opening an Internet cafe a few years back now, but I decided not to bother. It was going to cost a fortune just for me to make the wiring safe. I now live back in the UK. Interchanging the hot and neutral is very common.

    • With the new wiring in the house, hopefully my husband can at least ground everything. Knowing him he will make sure the hot and neutral are always on the same side. I guess we are going to have to live with the fact that some of the house will be wired as right as it could be and that some of the house is a bit crazy! Oh well, I guess it wouldn’t be a French house if some of it weren’t crazy:)

  3. Yes, I think you are right about it being a bit crazy. I wish your husband all the luck in the world. I think he is going o need it. But it will be worth doing in the long run. If he keeps the hot and neutral on the same side it should be pretty straight forward. Good luck to the pair of you. Hope all goes well.

    • Thanks for the well wishes. I really believe they help! With my husband in charge, I know I am in good hands. At least I know that in the part of the house he is wiring everything will be right, grounded, and I won’t get the heck shocked out a me!

  4. I will keep my fingers crossed for you. Especially for your Hubby.

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