Old wiring help

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  #1  
Old 03-07-05, 09:53 AM
Jeffac1
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Exclamation Old wiring help

I recently put in a new ceiling fan in my living room and found the old wire to have no ground (dangerous!) The wiring is so old it was wrapped in some kind of paper. I imagine that the rest of the wiring in the home is the same way. I can only imagine how out of code my house probably is, and how much of a fire hazard it is likely to be. I would like to start pulling the old wiring out and running new wiring. I think my breaker box would need updating because we keep blowing fuses in the house (probably about once a month or so one will trip). Is there any special tools I can use to help me pull and run new wire? Any advice on how to go about things. I know the breaker box will need to be installed by a electrician, so I am not thinking of tackling that one, but I imagine I could run new wire to the outlets and around the house myself. Any ideas? I am thinking this is a huge pain to do, and am hoping someone has an easier solution for me.....
 
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  #2  
Old 03-07-05, 10:10 AM
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Location: Central New York State
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An ungrounded circuit is NOT dangerous in and of itself. Certain circuits not being grounded would be dangerous, but just because a general purpose circuit is not grounded, it is not dangerous or unsafe.

You house is not "out of code". While it is not up to today's code, it most likely was up to the code that was in effect when it was wired. This is not unsafe either.

However, you do have several causes for concern.

One is that you keep blowing fuses. Continually blowing fuses means overloaded circuits. When they wired houses years ago they did not plan on high current devices, like hair dryers. They also did not anticipate the quantity of high current devices that we have today. Things like vacuum cleaners, irons, portable heaters, etc. all draw a considerable amount of current.

Rewiring your house is not something you want to attempt until and unless you have read several good books on home wiring. The books will tell you all the things you need to know and will suggest what to buy.

You will need to bring the house up to todays code. This means, among other things, that you will need at least two appliance circuits for the kitchen counters. You will need dedicated circuits for the bathrooms and laundry room. You will need GFCI protection in certain locations.

You will also not be able (or want) to follow the original circuit layout. As you have experienced, some of the existing circuits are overloaded. These circuits will have to be split.

My suggestion is that you start by doing an analysis of what you have and what you need. The books you read will tell you how to do this.

You can then make decisions on how to proceed.
 
  #3  
Old 03-07-05, 10:20 AM
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I was (am) in prettty much the same situation as you. Old house with mish mash wiring even back to deteriorating KNob & Tub. I decided to once and for all bring everything current and new (wiring). I had an elkectrician increase my service to 200amps and put in a large 40 slot panel so I can run (create) new circuits while leaving the old ones functional until I de-commission them. That way you can work as you go. I have used this board and it has educated me increadibly. And yes I have Wiring simplified ( a standard) committed to memory. If you get this stuff and have the patience to do it right, you can save a lot of money and you create the opportunity to do things just he way you (a homeowner) wants it. I am following the "safer is better" theory and wiring more circuits that are lighter and useing all 12/2 on 20 amp breakers. I have already started some work and 12/2 isn't that difficult to use as long as you use the larger boxes whenever you can...
 
  #4  
Old 03-07-05, 10:32 AM
Henry V
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A few thoughts from a DIYer: Absolutely, positively follow Racraft's advice and buy several books on home wiring and (as John Nelson would say) read them cover to cover. Basic residential wiring is not all that complex, but you need to really understand the basics before you get started. In addition to safety concerns, you can run into a lot of headaches and installation problems if you skip over the fundamentals that might strike you as too obvious to spend your time on them. I don't know your experience level, but it is obvious from postings on this sight that many people start into projects without knowing the basics about wire gauges, breakers, installing receptacles, etc. Once you master the basics, then it is much easier, and more efficient, to understand the moderately more sophisticated (at least to a DIYer) tasks, such as planning circuits.

Also, once you have an electrician upgrade your main panel, I would suggest that you start with a relatively simple project, such as replacing a single circuit in your basement. That will give you a good sense of what it takes to run wire and hook up lights and/or receptacles. Hopefully one or more of your basement rooms is finished, since you probably will want to learn about wire fishing and drywall repair downstairs instead of your living room. I would leave your kitchen and probably also your bathrooms for later, since the applicable Code rules are tricky in those rooms.
 
  #5  
Old 03-07-05, 12:12 PM
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Just a follow-up. I am a DIY-er and I've got it pretty much all down. I Read the books and understand the wiring. I actually read posts and I am able to answer (in my head) many of the questions that come up. I just wanted to show that a DIY-er can come a long way and provide support. This board has been increadible.

"....My suggestion is that you start by doing an analysis of what you have and what you need. The books you read will tell you how to do this."

This is very true. Once you have got it all down and you have the right tools (don't settle) do a basement/laundry room ciruit first. While you might have all of the book smarts down, but a simple location/circuit is a great place to get used to things like how to k eep your tools (buckets), what you need and a test for the unexpected. I ran into a few minor issues/techniques that I am now able to apply in more complicated/time consuming rooms....Good Luck.
 
  #6  
Old 03-08-05, 06:30 AM
Jeffac1
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Can anyone suggest some good books on home wiring? How to acess needs and what not, and the how to's? I know lowes and home depot have books on different home improvement areas, but was wondering if anyone had one that they found particularly useful.
 
  #7  
Old 03-08-05, 06:34 AM
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Wiring Simplified, a green paperback is a good place to start. It is usually hanging in the electrical aisle at Home Depot.

You can also check for books at your local library. If you find one you really like at the library you can then look for and but it at the store.
 
  #8  
Old 03-08-05, 06:35 AM
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Wiring Simplified - as your Bible..
 
  #9  
Old 03-08-05, 06:38 AM
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There are a number of books on home wiring, and each is good for a different purpose and different skill level. To really understand it, you'll probably need to read three or four books.

Books like the Black and Decker electrical guide are good for projects such as adding a new light or receptacle. The Home Depot wiring book is a bit more comprehensive. If you got more ambitious and wanted to wire your basement or a new bathroom, you need more detailed code information from a book such as Wiring Simplified. Then if you decide to rewire your house, you'd need something even more comprehensive (and expensive) such as Wiring a House. If you fool with home wiring enough, you'll eventually need to read all of them and more.
 
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