First house - electrical questions

Reply

  #1  
Old 04-26-05, 06:11 AM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 41
First house - electrical questions

Alright - excuse my cluelessness. I'm trying to refinish a room in our basement. Tore down the ceiling tiles to reveal two clunky '50's-era light boxes. The light boxes contain space for two 24" flouro bulbs. One box works, and the other has a rat's nest of wires and no bulbs.
The house has the original 1951 electric with glass fuses. I can't replace the whole thing now, so I'm hoping to replace the two light boxes in this room. Do you think I could find a local electrician to come in, pull out the existing light boxes, and put in new ones without rewiring the room? Can I buy two new lighting fixtures and have an electrician install, or does he have to see it and tell me which type to buy?

Thanks,

-Woostah
 
Sponsored Links
  #2  
Old 04-26-05, 06:38 AM
Member
Join Date: Sep 2000
Location: United States
Posts: 18,497
Contact the electrician first. Then you should be able to go ahead and buy the fixtures before he comes.
 
  #3  
Old 04-26-05, 07:18 AM
Member
Join Date: Sep 2000
Location: Fayetteville, NY, USA
Posts: 1,052
Yes, buy the fixtures that please you, and when he sees them he will know the appropriate boxes to install.

An electrician ordinarily will not put in a box and then tell you what kind of fixture to buy. Lighting is a very individual thing, and the owner's intention, whether functional or aesthetic, is their choice. They make boxes for all lighting types, and the electrician will probably have a variety in his truck, one of which will suit your needs.

And this should be a relatively inexpensive job for a pro to do.

Since he is only changing the boxes he is not modifying your circuit. It is generally assumed that existing original house circuits (not necessarily circuits which were modified by a previous owner) were to Code at the time they were installed, and if you do not modify them they are not required to be brought up to the latest Code, and are grandfathered. Also, replacing light fixtures where existing light fixtures were installed, as well as replacing bad switches, receptacles, and other existing devices, you are not required to upgrade, or rewire, the entire circuit.

Hope that helps.

Juice
 
  #4  
Old 04-26-05, 03:30 PM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 41
Juice and John - thanks for the info. It's exactly what I need. I'll find a pro who can do it, buy the fixtures, and have him install. Sweet. I'll let you know how it turns out.

-Woostah
 
  #5  
Old 04-27-05, 06:42 AM
Member
Join Date: Sep 2000
Location: Fayetteville, NY, USA
Posts: 1,052
Always glad to help. Good luck. Juice
 
  #6  
Old 05-01-05, 08:11 AM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 41
Update

Yo Juice, John, and others: Here’s the latest. Had a pro come to give me a bid. He says: Yep, you got problems. The 24” flouro light boxes are obsolete. He recommends four 6” circ. recessed lights (one for each corner of the 11’x14’ rm). We also talked about a couple other shady things in the rm’s ceiling: a splice that the DIY-er before me left, and a shady track lighting unit that’s rigged up in a goofy manner, and really should go. His estimate: $100/light = $400. Plus, add two new circuits in my main panel (I have an old Square-D panel with glass fuses – he says these are spec. order). One circuit is 15 amp for the lights and one is 20 amp for the outlets. He’d also get rid of the splice and the track lighting issues. He’d add one outlet in the wall that currently doesn’t have one. Grand total: $1,000. This seems to be the way to “do it right”. Then I could put up my ceiling and be done. What do you guys think? Anything else I should be thinking about here? I have another pro coming in to give a bid. I’ll see if he says anything different.

Thanks for any add’l advice or thoughts you guys have.

-Woostah
 
  #7  
Old 05-03-05, 11:06 AM
Member
Join Date: Sep 2000
Location: Fayetteville, NY, USA
Posts: 1,052
Woostah,

Seems like a pretty fair price for the work you're having done. If you are putting up a drywall ceiling, will your electrician make two trips? That would be one to "rough in" any ceiling boxes, then you put up the drywall, then he returns to hang the light fixtures once the rock is in place. Otherwise, it is good that you are getting a second estimate. Many people recommend three. Prices can vary considerably, partly depending on the individual electrician, and whether he is greedy or fair. Most I've known are fair, but there's "one in every crowd", and you might just get that one on your first try. But also it can depend on the size of their company. It is my impression that individuals tend to have higher overhead costs per job than a small to medium sized company.

Good luck.

Juice
 
  #8  
Old 05-04-05, 08:48 AM
Member
Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: CA
Posts: 2,041
You will live here for possibly many years, and will enjoy the proper lighting situation in the new basement area. You will also sleep well knowing that there are no "surprises" in the ceiling to disrupt spoil your day!

Congratulations on the new house. Enjoy!
 
  #9  
Old 05-06-05, 12:10 PM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 41
Accepted 2nd Bid

So I had the 2nd pro check out my situation and give a bid. I liked this second guy's style from the get-go. First thing he asks is, "Are you buying the lights yourself or you want me to provide 'em?" First guy didn't offer that option. So, I say, "I'll provide 'em." Then, second guy says he'll do the same thing the first guy'll do: remove obsolete lights, remove old DIY splice, and another J-box that the first guy didn't mention. He'll re-do all of the outlets and give me a new outlet in the wall that doesn't have one. Here's the kicker - this second guy actually removed the face of my main panel to see that there are two dummy fuses that he can use for new circuits for this room. (First guy said he'd have to special order new circuits, cuz there wasn't room for 'em.) So, the 2nd guy calls me back with the quote: $400 even. That's with all of the above (no special orders) and I provide the lights. First guy was $1,000 all told (with a spec. order) and he was providing the lights at $100apiece. That's $600 difference, so assuming I can get 4 recessed lights on my own for less than $150apiece, I'm saving $$ and get the same job.

Thought I'd pass on the info. Thanks for the advice, y'all. Just goes to show ya, I guess. I'm heading to the "walls & ceilings" forum this wknd to get some pointers on putting up sheetrock on the ceiling (gulp).

-Woostah
 
  #10  
Old 05-06-05, 12:21 PM
Member
Join Date: Sep 2000
Location: Fayetteville, NY, USA
Posts: 1,052
That is truly good news. I guess I did not catch that the first guy was providing the fixtures. He will usually mark them up, but that's normal. It is entirely routine for an electrician to get a call from a homeowner who has bought some electrical stuff and wants a price to have it installed. I would expect most of them to ask the question, though, as the second guy did. How it works is that you will probably recommend the second guy to a friend, relative, or neighbor if they ever posed the question "Hey Wooster, do you know any good electricians?" The first guy, however, seemed a little self-interested, and by not exploring your panel a little further as the second guy did he seemed rather not very thorough. Or he did know something about that particular model, but didn't mention it so he could squeeze out a little more profit from that "special order". Who knows? Anyway, for a difference of $600 he priced himself out of a job, and further he will probably not be referred by you. The second guy could end up with several jobs out of giving you a fair shake. The first guy may be highly competent, but you will never find out because his price and his approach to his customers.

Good luck.

Juice
 
Reply

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Display Modes