Replacing Knob & Tube - help!

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  #1  
Old 08-08-05, 12:14 PM
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Replacing Knob & Tube - help!

Hi all,

My wife and I purchased our small (1000 sq ft) cape-cod style home about 8 months ago. The wiring had been upgraded to 125 amp service, and I believe the wiring for the main floor was all re-done. However, the 2nd floor is still knob & tube. It was inspected and determined to be okay, but this past weekend when I was installing a GFCI receptacle in the bathroom I discovered the entire 2nd floor (2 bedrooms and a bathroom) is on one 15-amp circuit! Obviously, I'd like to re-wire the upper level (not only with electrical, but also with bundled cable - 2x RG6 and 2x Cat5e - in order to re-locate my office/computer from the basement to the 2nd bedroom).

Unfortunately the walls are plaster veneer, so they are pretty tough to work with (although not as tough as plaster/lathe). I've never run cable before, but I am mechanically inclined.

My questions are:

1 - How should it be wired? Currently the M/B has 2 receptacles and a ceiling fan with lights, the 2nd bedroom has 1 receptacle and ceiling lights, the bathroom has an exhaust fan (currently not hooked up), a bank of lights, and a receptacle, and the hallway has a single light (which is on a 3-way switch).

2 - How should I physically wire it? Pull from the basement and risk damaging the plaster veneer? Or, can I run the wire outside the house in some PVC conduit (I can actually run this out of site from the basement to the attic)

3 - is it possible to find someone who can run cable really well that isn't necessarily an electrician? If I was going to pay someone, I could really only afford $35/hour (figuring on 10 hours work), and the electricians here charge $65/hour...

Any other tips/suggestions would be great!

Scott
 
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  #2  
Old 08-08-05, 12:30 PM
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Forgot to add - if PVC is no good outside the cable could likely be run through the old chimney that was used to exhaust the oil furnace at one point in time (it's since been sealed off).

I guess what I'm trying to figure out is the least expensive way to run electrical and data cable to the 2nd floor of a fairly small house.
 
  #3  
Old 08-13-05, 12:57 PM
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Nobody has any advice??
 
  #4  
Old 08-13-05, 01:18 PM
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Scott,

Sometimes it takes us awhile to get to them all......or in fact some may just get overlooked but we are not dodging ya my friend.....we got you back

Ok...here is what you have stated :

1 - How should it be wired? Currently the M/B has 2 receptacles and a ceiling fan with lights, the 2nd bedroom has 1 receptacle and ceiling lights, the bathroom has an exhaust fan (currently not hooked up), a bank of lights, and a receptacle, and the hallway has a single light (which is on a 3-way switch).

2 - How should I physically wire it? Pull from the basement and risk damaging the plaster veneer? Or, can I run the wire outside the house in some PVC conduit (I can actually run this out of site from the basement to the attic)

3 - is it possible to find someone who can run cable really well that isn't necessarily an electrician? If I was going to pay someone, I could really only afford $35/hour (figuring on 10 hours work), and the electricians here charge $65/hour...
Response to # 1: I am not sure you really can do anything cost effective here as believe it or not Knob is rather safe and is really just a HUGE shared neutral circuit as you have come to find out. Unless you intend to rewire the entire second floor and clear out the walls I would leave the existing curcuits alone. My suggestion would be to run NEW circuits to the area you intend to use as your office area, these could come from outside the house from PVC pipe you install up the wall from a lower level and so on but will much more cost effective than rewiring the entire 2nd floor if you are not willing to do so.

Response to # 2 : This is what I would do if you are just trying to get a specific circuit to the 2nd floor for your computers and so on. You most certainly can use PVC if you wish, EMT as well. Now without seeing your layout it is hard to comment on the fittings you will need but most certainly PIPE, LB's and Wire...But their is also the UF wire option as well.

Response to # 3 : well I do not think we can help you this one. The wiring has to be done correctly, within the safety guidelines of the NEC which is designed for you and your home safety. Now, you may be able to do this yourself and if you post in the forum a little about your layout we may be able to assist you but again Electricians are trained professionals and get paid for their knowledge.

I would get a quote from atleast (3) electricians in your area and get a firm price from them and break it down and you might be surprised that it may come in near your $ 35.00 hour request.....for example....

You should not consider material in your $ 35.00hr request.... thats just not fair to the electrician...they make money on material as well but very little...( usually 20-35% markup ) So basically you are looking at a estimated 10 hours which an electrician could probably do in 3 hrs or less.....so you save right their....

If your basement has a wide open space the electrician will simply come from the panel to the wall, LB outside the house and up the wall and then LB into the back of a box located into the room where you need it...now that sounds simple and really depends on the location of the room you need it in but that is really all they will need to do.

Sure many will add that this and that needs to be done but I have done this for 17 years......honestly it is not brain surgery adding a line in this matter but their may be other variables needed here by you to ensure it can be that easy....

My point is.....this should not take an electrician with any skill 10 hours....unless the layout is problem worthy...and so you need to post ALL the issues that could cause problems...like no way to access the room you need to since it is on the other side of the house and so on.....those things will drive up the time and cost.

In the end........get a few estimates...they are more than likely FREE and every electrician will have a different option for you I am sure...always multiple ways to do things......just have to see it and come up with a plan.
 
  #5  
Old 08-29-05, 08:58 AM
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Thanks very much for the reply, ElectriaclMan

I do have one question - what are "LB"s?
 
  #6  
Old 08-29-05, 01:46 PM
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I just completed a similar DIY project and wanted to share my experience.

The new circuit run from the main panel was not too difficult. I learned that AFCI breakers were required for bedroom circuits in my city, so I had to install one of those.

By far the hardest and most time consuming thing for me was cutting through the walls to run wire. It sounds like you'll be adding a few more receptacles, but at least the plaster veneer may be easier than the lathe and plaster I had to deal with. Using a sawzall tended to shake the entire wall and crack more of the old plaster than I had hoped. I finally resorted to using a handsaw, which took much more time and energy.

My place is 80 years old, and while the wood they used then was (and still is) extraordinary- solid, true 2" x 4" redwood(!), they also used a variety of diagonal bracing between the wall studs. This meant that drilling holes for the wire down from the attic to the receptacle area took a bit of work and the purchase of some 5 foot drill bits. It was nothing like the books I had read where you cut little access holes near the top and bottom of the wall and fish cable LOL.

Similarly, drilling holes to run wire horizontally also took time when there were multiple studs stuck together along with diagonal bracing. Hopefully the framing in your place isn't like mine and all you'll need are 8" and 18" drill bits.

The actual connecting of wires wasn't bad at all- getting the wires in the right spot was tough, and messy, though. Still, I'm glad I did it myself (with the help of someone experienced in electrical work and the great people on this forum as well).
 
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