Old vs New...where do I start?


Old 10-14-04, 11:41 AM
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Question Old vs New...where do I start?

I have a home built in 1961 that has 2-wire cable through-out with a separate ground wire attached to the back of the boxes. I'm remodeling a bathroom and want to put in a spa bath tub. I have to run a separate 15amp outlet to my panel for the motor and another for a heater if I want it.

If possible, please help me resolve the following issues:

1: there are no remaining unused slots in my panel. How do I replace my panel? (the meter is attached to it)

2: I don't see a main breaker in or around my panel. How do I shut it off?

3: should I replace all the 2 wire cable with 3 wire since I have the walls open or is it unnecessary?

4: previous owner ran 3-wire for exhaust fans and other things through the house and did not place connections inside junction boxes but rather capped and tapped connections. Shouldn't they all be inside junction boxes?

Thanks for any info you can provide...even if it's websites or reference material.
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Old 10-14-04, 11:54 AM
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1) You may not have to replace the panel. If the panel will support tandem, or mini, breakers then you can replace some of the breakers with these.

2). Not sure. Pull the meter?

3) If you are updating your bathroom then you must bring it up to code. Not only do you need to replace the wiring, since it is not up to current code, but you may have to run new circuits anyway. Is the bathroom on a circuit by itself? Is the bathroom on a 20 amp circuit?

4) All connections must be in junction boxes. Many ceiling light and exhaust fans incorporate their own junction box. If they do then no other box is needed. If the don't then you must have a junction box, which must be permanently accessible. No wire splices can be without a junction box, and the junction box cannot be covered inside a wall.

One other note. I'm not sure on this, but you may have to make the circuits for the spa 20 amps to comply with current code. Even if the circuits can be 15 amp, or even if you must use a 15 amp breaker, I would still use 12 guage wire and 20 amp breakers if you can.
Old 10-14-04, 12:16 PM
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Question Follow-up to your questions...

Thanks for the fast reply.

The bathroom shares the circuit with a second bathroom and the master bedroom. It is a 15amp circuit.

I've never done electrical work but do very precise work, don't cut corners and end up with excellent results so I'm becoming very brave as to expanding my horizons. I would like to do the work myself but don't want to get in over my head either and have my power out for a week. Any suggestions on the best do it yourself learning reference?
Old 10-14-04, 12:35 PM
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John always recommends a book called Wiring Simplified. I have an old version of it and like it too. It is available at Home Depot. Others have recommended Black and Decker's book.

Since your bathroom shares itself with the master bedroom you will have to correct this.

The rule on bathrooms is a little tricky.

The lights and a ceiling fan can come from any circuit. However, the receptacles must be bathroom only. The easiest thing for you to do will be to install a brand new circuit for the bathroom. This must be a 20 amp circuit and can only go to this one bathroom, once you put the bathroom lights on it. Put the lights, exhaust fan and wall receptacles on this circuit. I would then put the spa on it's own circuits.

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