Updating electrical in a Ranch Home


Old 05-08-05, 11:25 AM
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Updating electrical in a Ranch Home

Hello everyone. I am looking at getting a house which has 60 amp service (maybe less). The fuse box has 6 glass type fuses, and 1 or 2 pullouts. I plan on upgrading the electrical system throughout the house, add additional light fixtures, wire up the basement etc. on this single floor ranch house.
Having a contractor out last week, he told me I could expect $5000 to update the electrical, including adding a breaker box. What get’s me is they will not replace the existing wiring. They will replace all the outlets with the grounded ones, and then “pigtail” the neutrals/grounds or whatever. He claims it will be up to code. It doesn’t make sense to me though, if you are running service that usually uses 3 wires, how can you stay with 2 wire and make no amends to adding that 3rd? I don’t know exactly what the cost is, and I don’t know exactly what work will be done, waiting for the written estimate, but even that I think will be very basic. I don’t know what to think about the estimated $5000 cost either, I feel either it is too much for what little needs done, or too little. Issues with the bank prevent me from doing any of this work myself, or else I would re-place all the wiring possible myself. I think the difficult part would be getting the wires that run up to the ceiling. I know the wiring is on a small box, and most likely a lot of things are tied into each other. I would want to run the bedrooms on their own circuits, the living room on maybe 2 separate circuits (2 walls per) and
.the kitchen on 3-4 circuits (fridge, dishwasher on separate circuits)
Doing it my way might be overkill, but I can live with that. Having it done my way by contractors seems unfeasible price wise though.
I also do not “get” the amp system. Should I go with 100 amp service, or jump to 200? I know if I do 150 I may as well get the 200 because a 200 amp breaker box would be used anyhow.
Any comments/suggestions are appreciated. Thank you
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Old 05-08-05, 02:18 PM
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Pigtailing the ground and neutral isn't safe or 'up to code'. Point blank ask if thats what his plans are, if it is, boot him. By contactor, do you mean electrician or a general contractor?
Old 05-08-05, 04:19 PM
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I agree. Ask exactly what he means. If he means that he will connect both the ground and the neutral of each receptacle to the same wire, then run him out of your house immediately and don't let him back in ever, no matter what. That practice is one of the stupidest and most dangerous things he could do.
Old 05-09-05, 08:09 AM
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Originally Posted by 63Sting
I also do not “get” the amp system. Should I go with 100 amp service, or jump to 200? I know if I do 150 I may as well get the 200 because a 200 amp breaker box would be used anyhow.
The ampacity of your service is the maximum amount of electricity that can be consumed in your house at any given time. You may want to do a "demand load calculation" to determine what service size you need. It's possible if this is a small house with natural gas or propane appliances that 100A is plenty. Post back with the square footage of the house, and the power source of the major appliances (heater, cloths dryer, water heater, hot tub, etc) and someone can help you decide. Do you have a wood shop, attached garages, welders, anything else with special power requirements?

Also, your contractor should provide you with a demand load calculation with your estimate to justify his decision of service size.
Old 05-09-05, 08:49 AM
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This guy is a general contractor, not a licensed electrician. He said he would have a licensed electrician do the electrical work, but I still didi not agree with what he wanted to do. I appreciate the opinions voiced Hellrazor and John Nelson. I know the practice has been done, my current house has a recent breaker, ut still knob & tube wireing throughout.

Ibpooks, 930sf + full unfinished basement which I plan on adding more electrical outlets because the basement will be finished eventulally in the next year or two if I get the house. I have a standard appliances. Washer,Micro,Dishwasher Gas Stove. Typical tools, Tablesaw, miter saw, small drill press, electric sanders/corded saws. I would likie to buid a workshop in the back of the yard, and adding electrical to but I don’t see that happening anytime soon. I think the 100 amp would be fine, I bet that’s what I’ve been living on the past 8 years at my current house.

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