Wiring/cabling questions


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Old 12-06-03, 01:12 PM
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Wiring/cabling questions

Hi,

My 1950's house that I recently bought has original wiring (not grounded outlets & lights), although my service was updated to 200 amp. I just started tearing out my basement ceiling to get at wiring, etc., what I find is that I can't get at much of the original wiring, it must have been strung between the walls prior to plastering.

I am not an electrician, and I will eventually hire one, but I have a few questions to help me understand the process:

1. If outlets, etc. are to be re-wired, does one drill through the basement into the wall and snake wire (Romex?) up? To continue the circuit, do you then come back down, then drill through the joists & continue? Is the original wire (obviously disconnected at the box) left in the walls?

2. If this is the approach, what's the best way to determine where the wall is so you are not drilling into the room by mistake?
I was thinking that I could take off baseboard in the upstairs rooms and drill a small hole through the floor to the basement - that way I would know to drill 'in' from that to hit the wall. Is there a better way?

3. While I'm at this, I thought I'd wire the house better for phone, cable, etc. Right now phone cable is running along baseboards for the most part, I was thinking of putting plates & jacks into each of the rooms. While I do this, I could run other cable, either for cable/satellite TV (we currently have neither, but will proably do so in the near future) and also for computer networking. While I don't see the need for a network in our house, if I ever did, I think I could do it wireless, so that probably is not an issue. So my question is - does cable & satellite TV use the same type of cable? I imagine it is - probably coax, right? What I'm thinking is to 'wire' all the room that would potentially need this service now (when there is no ceiling in the basement) and have this all this cable originate from the same place in the basement so the job would be easy to 'hook up' a system later. Any comments/issues?

Thanks!
Bob
 
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Old 12-06-03, 01:22 PM
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What you are describing is the way to go. Your new wiring will be from the basement up into each outlet or switch, and then back down into the basement. Overhead lights are tricky, and there may very well end up woth some patching to be done. Make sure that you agree with the electrician that you hire whose job it will be to repair the walls.

If I were you I would wire for a home network, and not rely on wireless. Wireless is not 100 percent secure, and a hard wired connection is better anyway.

Yes, running all your phone, TV and computer connections to one place is a good idea. Use RG6 for TV, pulling two cables to each location.
 
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Old 12-06-03, 03:08 PM
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Thanks for the reply! Why is pulling 2 cables of RG6 to each location necessary/recommended? Also, while I'm not a complete cable nut, I do believe that at least for audio, better quality cables make a difference (w/in reason). What's your opinion on this for RG6 - is it all pretty much the same or is some shielded better or made specifically for TV?

Thanks again,
Bob
 
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Old 12-06-03, 03:32 PM
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I'm wondering why you need to completely re-wire a 50's house. Is there no ground in the wiring or just non-grounded receptacles?
Most homes from this era have at least grounded wiring.
 
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Old 12-06-03, 04:59 PM
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I suggest two RG6 cables to each location so that you have one there to back feed a signal to another location. Sometimes people only have two different satellite receivers, and they don't want to keep moving the decoder box around, or they want the same show on two different TVs. Or someone may not have a DVD player at each TV and they want the DVD signal to be sent to a different location.

I also ask the same question as speedey. Why do you want rewire everything? I understand doing it when the basement is open, which is certainly easier. However, I would stay with the outlets, leaving the light fixtures alone, as they are where the majority of the mess will come from.
 
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Old 12-06-03, 11:02 PM
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There are two reasons I want to rewire:

1) There is no ground in the existing wire. Right after we moved in I replaced all the 2 prong receptacles w/ 3 prong and grounded by attaching a wire to the metal box from the receptacle.

2) The existing circuits are long and illogical. Some of the basement, several rooms and the bathroom are all on the same circuit, for example. I'd like to even the load a bit.

I will probably follow your advice & leave the lights alone, however I think that some lights are on the same circuit as the receptacles. That may mean a re-wire, unless I am able to leave the lights and just bypass the receptacles - don't know about that.

Regardless, Thanks!
Bob
 
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Old 12-07-03, 06:29 AM
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When you attached the ground to the metal box, did it supply a ground? If it did then you have no need to rewire. If it did not then you have an issue already.
 
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Old 12-07-03, 07:51 AM
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The box I attached the ground wire to was the box that holds the receptacle. As a temporary measure (maybe it's OK?), when I bought new 3 prong receptacles, I bought a short (7" or so) ground wire that had a metal screw on one end that I drove into an existing hole in the metal box. Of course the other end was attached to the receptacle.

Are you saying that this is good enough? I thought that perhaps this would be a quick 'bandaid' approach, that later would need to be rectified with new wiring. If it is acceptable, then I need some rewiring (to better spread the load on some circuits), but other circuits would be fine.

Thanks,
Bob
 
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Old 12-07-03, 09:26 AM
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It is only good if the box is grounded. If the box is not grounded you have created a dangerous situation.
 
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Old 12-07-03, 10:22 AM
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Yes, the box is grounded. When I looked at the boxes, the cable coming in (& out) had a ground (bare) wire wrapped around where the wires came out of the housing. It was difficult to get at it but I assumed it was grounded because it certainly touched the metal box. I used the exterior wire to connect to the box because it was easier.

Now I have a better idea what was done, I may not rewire as much as I assumed I would, but I will need to do some in order to redistribute some circuits.

By the way, any ideas on how to gauge where to drill from the basement up in order to hit the wall cavity?

Bob
 
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Old 12-07-03, 10:29 AM
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Look for any other penetrations coming up throught he floor. Such as heating pipes or other wires.
In homes with hot water heat I find the nearest line to a radiator or baseboard. I measure where it comes up through the floor to the wall. Then I go in the basement and use that measurement to judge where I'll drill. Usually I'll add two inches to the number and that put's me in a safe zone. Be sure to compensate for any angle you are drillng at. Most times on exterior walls you'll be drilling at an angle and you need to be sure you don't drill way off from your target.
 
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Old 12-07-03, 05:04 PM
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Your boxes are grounded. You do not need to rewire the house. You should try and make the ground connection from the wires connect to the box with the proper screw.
 
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Old 12-07-03, 05:51 PM
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Yes, the box is grounded. When I looked at the boxes, the cable coming in (& out) had a ground (bare) wire wrapped around where the wires came out of the housing. It was difficult to get at it but I assumed it was grounded because it certainly touched the metal box. I used the exterior wire to connect to the box because it was easier.

Now I have a better idea what was done, I may not rewire as much as I assumed I would, but I will need to do some in order to redistribute some circuits.

By the way, any ideas on how to gauge where to drill from the basement up in order to hit the wall cavity?

Bob
 
 

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