Replacing two crawl space light switches with a timer switch?
#11
  
We are going to rent out this house.  The air handler is in the crawl space and the renters will need to change the filter every 2 months.

Access to the crawl space (about 4' tall) is through a basement bedroom closet, but to turn on the lights, you need to enter the crawl space and then reach up to flip the switches.  I'm not a fan of crawl spaces and I'm trying to lower the barrier for the renters.  I'm thinking about tying both switches together then locating a dial timer on the wall in the closet.  They turn the dial before they enter the crawlspace to turn on the lights, and if they forget to turn them off, they turn off on their own.

I'm currently drafting a renter's manual for the house and am labeling any odd switches like this planned one.

Do you see any issues with this?
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#12
  Re: Replacing two crawl space light switches with a timer switch? by atgcpaul (We are going to rent...)
(09-10-2020, 07:26 PM)atgcpaul Wrote: Do you see any issues with this?

I wouldn't want to be the one in the crawl space when the timer runs out and the lights turn off.


Maybe the switch you install inside the closet could be tied to a new light fixture mounted within the closet.  When the renter sees that light on, they know the crawl space lights are on as well.

Mike
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#13
  Re: RE: Replacing two crawl space light switches with a timer switch? by Ohio Mike ([quote='atgcpaul' pi...)
(09-10-2020, 07:39 PM)Ohio Mike Wrote: I wouldn't want to be the one in the crawl space when the timer runs out and the lights turn off.


Maybe the switch you install inside the closet could be tied to a new light fixture mounted within the closet.  When the renter sees that light on, they know the crawl space lights are on as well.

Mike

My wife said the same thing.  Good idea about the extra light.  I'll plan for that.
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#14
  Re: RE: Replacing two crawl space light switches with a timer switch? by atgcpaul ([quote='Ohio Mike' p...)
(09-10-2020, 08:19 PM)atgcpaul Wrote: My wife said the same thing.  Good idea about the extra light.  I'll plan for that.

Those inexpensive twist spring timers don’t like to be turned off. They prefer to just run themself down and go off.  As such, what difference if you see the crawl space lights are on via an extra light in the closet? You should still just let them run down to off.
Adding a(nother) light in a closet limits where you can put clothes or how much space you can use for storage per NEC. As a rental it should meet code.

Skip the extra light. 
Replace the bulbs with LED bulbs. 
Get a one hour spring twist timer.  One such timer.
Use the present switch box as a junction box and add a length of wire to your desired location.

No neutral needed, compatible with LED.
At 14 watts total, who cares if it’s on for an extra 30 minutes once every two months? 
 If you’re worried about it going off prematurely and you think one hour is not enough time, get a 12 hour timer.
 Again, an extra 10 hours at 14 watts @ 12¢/kwh is less than 2¢ every two month.
 Assuming you’re installing a recessed LED fixture in the closet to give yourself the maximum safe clearance by code, it would take 60 years to pay for itself.
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#15
  Re: Replacing two crawl space light switches with a timer switch? by atgcpaul (We are going to rent...)
Dealing with my dad's renters, I learned that no matter what you do... renters will treat the house like a rental. If I lived close enough, I'd swing by once every couple months and put the filter in myself.
Neil Summers Home Inspections


When it comes to 'lectricity, I'm a pretty good wood turner.

... Grey Mountain 3/2/21

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#16
  Re: RE: Replacing two crawl space light switches with a timer switch? by Snipe Hunter (Dealing with my dad'...)
(09-11-2020, 04:36 AM)Snipe Hunter Wrote: Dealing with my dad's renters, I learned that no matter what you do... renters will treat the house like a rental. If I lived close enough, I'd swing by once every couple months and put the filter in myself.

This has been my experience as well over the last 15 years renting out my parents' old house.  Responsible tenants are few and far between. . . .
Credo Elvem ipsum etiam vivere
Non impediti ratione cogitationis
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#17
  Re: RE: Replacing two crawl space light switches with a timer switch? by Ohio Mike ([quote='atgcpaul' pi...)
(09-10-2020, 07:39 PM)Ohio Mike Wrote: I wouldn't want to be the one in the crawl space when the timer runs out and the lights turn off.


Maybe the switch you install inside the closet could be tied to a new light fixture mounted within the closet.  When the renter sees that light on, they know the crawl space lights are on as well.

Mike

Another suggestion is to use an illuminated switch. I use one for the lights in my attic. If the switch is lit, lights on the circuit are off. Easy to see whether lights in an otherwise difficult to access area are on or not...
sample:
https://www.homedepot.com/p/Leviton-20-A.../301447165
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#18
  Re: Replacing two crawl space light switches with a timer switch? by atgcpaul (We are going to rent...)
(09-10-2020, 07:39 PM)Ohio Mike Wrote: Maybe the switch you install inside the closet could be tied to a new light fixture mounted within the closet.  When the renter sees that light on, they know the crawl space lights are on as well.

I forgot there is a light switch on the outside of the closet already that controls the light in the closet!  And lucky me because it's a low profile LED one, too.  I'm trying to get an electrician out to fix a bunch of double tapped neutrals in my panel.  If I get one, I'll ask that he tie those two crawlspace switches into that one closet switch.


(09-11-2020, 04:36 AM)Snipe Hunter Wrote: Dealing with my dad's renters, I learned that no matter what you do... renters will treat the house like a rental. If I lived close enough, I'd swing by once every couple months and put the filter in myself.

This is my biggest fear and one of the reasons why we sold rather than rent out our last house when we moved overseas.  Unfortunately we'll be out of the country again, but we will have a property management company looking after the house.  This might be one of the things we end up paying their handyman to do on a regular basis.  Cost of doing business, I guess.
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#19
  Re: RE: Replacing two crawl space light switches with a timer switch? by atgcpaul ([quote='Ohio Mike' p...)
(09-11-2020, 03:28 PM)atgcpaul Wrote: but we will have a property management company looking after the house.  This might be one of the things we end up paying their handyman to do on a regular basis.  Cost of doing business, I guess.

My daughter uses a management company. She pays a little extra but they mow the lawn, fix broken stuff and changes the air filter.
Neil Summers Home Inspections


When it comes to 'lectricity, I'm a pretty good wood turner.

... Grey Mountain 3/2/21

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#20
  Re: Replacing two crawl space light switches with a timer switch? by atgcpaul (We are going to rent...)
(09-12-2020, 07:04 AM)Snipe Hunter Wrote: My daughter uses a management company. She pays a little extra but they mow the lawn, fix broken stuff and changes the air filter.

I asked our property manager about this last night because in addition to changing out the air filter, the renters will periodically have to add salt to the brine tank.  At least there's no crawl space involved there--just buying and then hauling a 40lb bag down to the basement.

Anyway, they use some software to keep track of the maintenance items and then email the renters.  The renters then have to produce proof that the task was completed.  I'm going to insist that includes a picture of the new filter installed with the date written on it.

The management company also has a handyman service that they could use.

We are including the cost of grass cutting (1.2 acres) in the rent as well as trash service.  We listed on Wednesday.  So far we have a showing tomorrow with another one in the works.
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