Adding Outlets


Old 08-08-04, 07:53 PM
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Adding Outlets

I recently purchased a 1890's farm house that has already been upgraded to 100 amp service. Each of the three rooms upstairs only have one outlet and a ceiling fixture. The service panel has a breaker for the kitchen, one for an outside workshop, one for the living room, and one for all of the upstairs. What should be my first project in order to start adding more receptacles upstairs?
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Old 08-09-04, 04:37 AM
Join Date: Sep 2003
Location: Central New York State
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Determining the type of wiring used for the existing circuits and the condition of said wiring. You may want to abandon the wiring and add all new circuits.
Old 08-09-04, 07:08 AM
Join Date: Feb 2002
Location: port chester n y
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Presuming that the walls and ceilings are covered with the original lath & plaster, I would give serious consideration to removing the original finish on the exterior walls so you can both re-wire and insulate them.

Also consider fastening 1" X 4" fur-stips to the ceiling joists, so you can route cables either between the joists or between the fir-strips.

I'ts easy to install "clip-in" recessed fixtures in a new sheet-rock ceiling, and the space between the old/new ceiling also forms an insulation barrier.

Don't forget circuits for window A.-C. units, and communication cables for telephones, computors, and T.V.'s.

Good Luck & Enjoy the Experience!!!!!!!
Old 08-09-04, 07:51 AM
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Old House

The ceiling of the upstairs is original horse-hair plaster. I have an unfinished attic. Can I run wiring from the basement up through the walls to the attic, distribute from there back down the walls to all of the rooms? Also, is it recommended to have each room on its own circuit? All information is greatly appreciated.
Old 08-09-04, 08:43 AM
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As a fellow old home owner I wouldn't take the job of tearing out lathe and plaster for sheetrock lightly. It's a HUGE endeavor, and if you have horse-hair you might want to preserve it. Hiring a master plasterer to refinish old ceilings can cost you $$$.

If you have attic and basement/crawlspace access then you can run power. It greatly depends on what type of framing you have. A lot of these old homes have what they call "balloon" framing, or framing where continuous walls run from the rafterline to the foundation, and floors are framed to that. It can make wiring easier in some cases. The only real problem to this approach is fireblocking. A good 48" flexible bit you can connect to your drill can help you find a path between the attic and basement/crawlspace, but it's hard frustrating work but it can be done.

Determine what your power consumption is right now, and see how many circuits you can add to your box without causing problems (you may have to replace your panel if it was replaced when 100 amps was a standard service, and it doesn't provide adequate space or the breakers are no longer made). Plan out your new circuit(s), and do some looking around with a flashlight to see where the best place to run power up to the attic might be. It may be a straight shot or it might be a twisted out-of-the-way path. I recomend finding a place to run metal conduit (1" or so) that you can stick a couple of 12/2 romex lines in. Tuck it away in the corner of a closet or something. Otherwise you'll have to run them one at a time. Trace down old knob and tube power and neutral to the switches and lights, and use those holes to run new romex.
Old 08-09-04, 09:15 AM
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Thanx, Cobalt. I do plan on preserving the original horse hair plaster. The walls are studs with horizontal slats approx 1" apart. I have found some knob and tube in the basement, but i'm still trying to figure out what it runs. (I think its been disconnected). The problem I'm facing now is that there is only 1 outlet in the kitchen. Window unit, fridge, and microwave will trip it. The service panel has 13 empty slots for breakers. That is why i was thinking about using at least 3 for the kitchen. Is that recommended or practical? The living room is the only real updated room. (House was lived in by elderly man living out of one room). Living room has 3 outlets. I have TV, surround sound, window unit, computer, light, clock, etc. all on with no problems. I am currently staying in this room (me, wife, 1 son). Dining room, and all of upstairs are off limits until I do the wiring, but I want to make sure I'm doing it right. There is only 1 240v line off the service panel to the water heater. Dryer is gas, but I also have an electric dryer not being used because I don't have a 240v outlet in the basement. I'm still in the process of mapping the whole house, so I know I'm getting ahead of myself. But, all information is appreciated.

Just confirming; 100amp house is only capable of 24000 watts?

Thanx all,

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