question about cost to rewire a ranch

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  #1  
Old 03-24-06, 05:01 PM
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question about cost to rewire a ranch

im in NE ohio and i am buying a house that needs some work
it currently has 10 amp service and was built in 59
the home has 1 grounded outlet in the whole house. i think it was in the bathroom
there are no gfci outlets

all of the outlets have more than 5% voltage drop

there is a panel outside that is maybe a mian disconneecT?
it goes to a subpanel in the garage and then that goes to a panel in the bbasement

i got a quote from an electrician for 4000

hes talking about rewiring the whole house
each room has around 4-6 outlets in them and the basement is unfinished
the attic is easily accessable and its 1900 sf total

is the price out of line?
he said something aobut hte ground bus being on the same bar as something else and that was common for ppeople that didnt know what they were doing but it was dangerous

is complete rewiring even necessary
the home has beeen vacant for 2 years and i cant talk to the owner as its a foreclousre

is 4000 high?
 
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  #2  
Old 03-25-06, 12:44 AM
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> it currently has 10 amp service

100A.


> the home has 1 grounded outlet in the whole house.

It might not be grounded.


> all of the outlets have more than 5% voltage drop

Says who?
Basically, that's impossible. Outlets don't have voltage drops.


> there is a panel outside that is maybe a main disconnect?
> it goes to a subpanel in the garage and then that goes to a panel in the basement.

Good. Post a photo of it and of the meter box.


> i got a quote from an electrician for 4000
> he's talking about rewiring the whole house
> each room has around 4-6 outlets in them and the basement is unfinished
> the attic is easily accessable and its 1900 sf total
> is the price out of line?

Who recommended this electrician?

> he said something about the ground bus being on the
> same bar as something else and that was common for
> people that didnt know what they were doing
> but it is dangerous

He is correct.


> is complete rewiring even necessary

Yes.

> i can't talk to the owner as it's a foreclosure

Do you mean that you are unable to locate the owner?
What would you ask him anyway?


> is $4000 high?

Not for high quality work by a competent electrician using quality materials.
Get written estimates and references.
 
  #3  
Old 03-25-06, 10:08 PM
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Again, I don't know about your area (I gotta get out more).
Depending on the median prices out there, I"ld jump on it. This area New england(rural outside boston) Rates are around $2.50-$3.25/sq ft. NEW work. So at 1900 sq ft., And the extended labor involved with the old work (snaking wires)
Sounds reasonable. BUT.... Get quotes and REFERANCES!!! Compare apples to apples. In this bussiness there are a lot of variables. IE: equipment etc...
Prices in this forum are hard to guess,you know different economics in all areas.
Good luck and post back.
 
  #4  
Old 03-26-06, 08:00 AM
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yep sorry 100 amp service

the home inspector plugged in a device to test the outlets and he said that there is voltage drop under heavy load. Ill have to go up to the house today and take some pictures of the boxes. My uncle is an electrician, or at least he was in Greece. He cant get certified here yet because he cant take the test in english as of yet. He wants to do the work for me. I dont think he even wants paid actually. I am contemplating letting him do it since im sure itll be less expensive but is there any major difference between being an electrician in Greece and here?

the guy i got wasnt recommened, I just looked through the phonebook and got the quote. I felt like it was awfully high since the place doesnt seem bad to me. I just want to make sure i dont move in and then have it burn down. when he got there he walks round and looks at the fuse box then tells me its one of the worst hes seen. Thats what has me bothered about his quote. I have been shopping around for quite a few houses and this is deffinately not the worst electrical work ive seen. tube fuses would be worse. Bare wires sticking out of the walls would be worse. This place is actually livable. I guess i need more quotes. The thing that bothers me is having all these guys come out and wasting there time. the house is in a pretty nice area and I think that is inflating some of these estimates im getting. hell the plumber said he wasnt 20k to fix some leaky pipes.
F that. I sent my GF to get that quote.
 
  #5  
Old 03-26-06, 08:02 AM
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Yea I had my mom look up the previous owner through the gas company (she works there). I was going to call him ad get any background info i could. I suspect the guy died because I cant find anythign even with his name on it anywhere.
 
  #6  
Old 03-26-06, 12:42 PM
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Originally Posted by 98vert6spd
the home inspector plugged in a device to test the outlets and he said that there is voltage drop under heavy load.
I said he is clueless. So whom are you to believe?


> My uncle is an electrician, or at least he was in Greece.

Doesn't count. USA is so different don't let him touch your wiring.
The colors, voltages, and methods in the USA are very different!


> He wants to do the work for me.

Bad idea.


> is there any major difference between being an electrician in Greece and here?

Huge differences.


> the guy i got wasn't recommened

Ask for references.


> when he got there he walks round and looks at the fuse box
> then tells me it's one of the worst hes seen.

The worst I've seen was in a barn.


> That's what has me bothered about his quote.

I agree. Post some pics.
If yours is the worst he's seen, he probably hasn't seen very many.


> tube fuses would be worse.

Why?


> The thing that bothers me is having all these guys come out and wasting their time.

That's the trade. Be upfront that you just want an estimate.
 

Last edited by bolide; 03-26-06 at 06:50 PM.
  #7  
Old 03-26-06, 04:42 PM
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ill get some pictures of the boxes the next time im at the house.
 
  #8  
Old 03-29-06, 08:35 AM
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  #9  
Old 03-29-06, 09:28 AM
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I gotta say, the slide-show is pretty funny. It should come with a movie-announcer voiceover...

This is the tale of a panel... A recently installed service disconnect with questionable workmanship behind it's lines...

I share Bolide's skeptism of the importance of the 'voltage drop problem.' If the receptacles in your house sit at 5% drop under max load, that's not a problem, that's physics. That means that when you load a 20 amp circuit to 16 amps, or a 15A circuit to 12A, the voltage drops from 120V to 114V. The appliances you use are likely not going to draw that much, and also are not going to be adversely affected by operating at 114V.

The pictures are small, but it seems pretty apparent that the house is in need of a few panel changeouts. There is a single pole breaker with several conductors landed on it, and there's even a two-pole breaker with several conductors landed on one pole. That's bad news. Looks like an eight space panel where at least a 20-space would be more appropriate. And the neutrals and grounding conductors should be seperated at all the panels after that outside 100 amp service disconnect.

The service has been recently upgraded, but is that a cable running out the top of it? Not a quality installation in my book. I suppose it's common in some areas, but I'd opt for Schedule 80 over SE cable stapled to the side of the house, in my opinion.

Most of the basement pics didn't seem to load right for me. What I can see is troubling.

I'd say $4000 is a bargain, and do check references as suggested. You might consider (if it's an option) tearing out all the drywall in the house, and then going to town on it. Looks as though you've got considerable drywall damage anyway, and if it's all open access, replacing all the wiring and upgrading the plumbing and whatnot would be much faster and cheaper.

If you're getting the house on a foreclosure, then you're saving a lot of cash upfront. If you turn around and invest that into the house in an efficient manner, you can really see a good return. Gutting it and starting over could pay for itself. You might even enlist the services of a General Contractor to oversee this, if it sounds like something you couldn't commit to.

Look out for yourself. Don't worry about wasting the contractors' time; you'll be paying for their time when they do the work.
 
  #10  
Old 03-29-06, 12:54 PM
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i am hiring a handyman for 450/week
i probably will need his help for about 2 months
we are going to do some roofing and some other general repair/remodeling around the house.

I really would like to avoid ripping out drywall everywhere if possible but i supposed i could do it if i had to.

is a total rewire in order?
round about figure for supplies?
 
  #11  
Old 03-29-06, 02:16 PM
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new 100A service feeding old junk

I suggest you get an electrician.

If you don't have a ground wire, you need to re-wire.

The garage panel lacks a floating neutral.

It needs to be re-wired with four-wires and a new subpanel.
Make it big enough for all possible future needs.


(The outside disconnect is awfully close to the ground.
I've done that where I had to. But this is not one of those cases.
I would have used a short steel nipple from the meter pan to a threaded hub boss on top of the disconnect.
From the disconnect to the basement, use PVC conduit with an LB to make the turn into the basement.)
 
  #12  
Old 03-29-06, 02:52 PM
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damn it sounds bad

haha
i guess i better start knocking out some drywall. I can put in all the nnew outlets around the house and run the wiring to them. Im fairly confident i can do all of that. I fear the main boxes. As I have said before my uncle wants to help me with this and I think he is competent enough to do it. This is afterall a DIY forum. This house has dumb electrical BS all over the place but most of it is things I think i can do.
the original quote of 4000 what part of that is material? and what part is labor

if we arent talking a massive amount for labor ill call him back and see if i can get him out here to do it. My gut tells me hes got about 2500 in there in labor/profit for himself. for 2500 I will MASTER electrical work myself
 
  #13  
Old 03-29-06, 02:59 PM
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could someone recommend some reading that will get me the basics of wiring. I dont understand how the breaker boxes work and how they go from 220/240 down to 110/120. I am very mechanical when it comes to automotive things and usually learn things buy doing exactly what im trying todo here. I would really like to save on this part of the job by doing it myself as long as i can do it corectly as i have many other projects in this house as well and the cost just gets bigger and bigger
 
  #14  
Old 03-29-06, 05:22 PM
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child's play

There never is 240V with respect to ground in in typical American houses.

What you have are two 120V legs (ungrounded) from each pole (think of a magnet with North and South poles, not a post, not a pole cat) of the transformer and a grounded conductor (neutral) from the center tap of the transformer.

The two legs from the opposite poles have waveforms which are 180 degrees apart in the voltage. So when one is maximum North, the other is at maximum South. If you get between them, you have 240V RMS.
Like a see-saw, they alternate, but when one is 120V above level, the other is 120V below level. That means that they are 240V apart.

But if you get between just one of them and the neutral, you have only 120V.
On a see-saw, when one side is 2' above level, the other side is 2' below level.
Hence, one side is 4' higher than the other.

I've tried to avoid being too technical here.
Math is involved (voltage is subtraction - always measured between two points), but if you like pictures, there might be a good illustration somewhere.
 
  #15  
Old 03-29-06, 05:26 PM
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> my uncle wants to help me with this and I think he is competent enough to do it.

But he will be confused because the colors are backward, the voltages are different, loops are not allowed, wire gauges are different, and the safety rules are stricter, and so on.

You need to have someone knowledgable inspecting your work.
 
  #16  
Old 03-29-06, 07:33 PM
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ill have to talk with him about it in depth to see if he really is up to it. He did work over here as an electrician at a steel mill for quite some time but never got licensed.
 
  #17  
Old 03-29-06, 08:30 PM
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>i am hiring a handyman for 450/week
i probably will need his help for about 2 months<

Good deal for you. CHECK their papers. What happens when they get hurt?
HIRE Someone!!!! Some day your kid may need a job and WON'T be able to find one!! YOU GET WHAT YOU PAY FOR!!!
 
  #18  
Old 03-30-06, 10:04 AM
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98, I think you're kinda missing the big picture here. If you try to do this yourself, you're going to end up with more of the same, no offense is intended by that. This problem is the result of years of people passing through, getting stuff done just enough to get it visibly working again.

No matter how strong your desire to do a good job, and go above "getting it just done enough," you are only human. It's a difficult task before you, and I would not blame you a bit for losing resolve after completing less than half the work.

No matter how strong your desire to do a good job, you're limited by experience. I'm limited by experience. In a few months, I'll obtain a license that will enable me to legally oversee any commercial job I decide to. But I am unqualified, and I recognize that, and have a respect for that lack of experience. I can see enough of that beast to be humbled, and respect it.

You don't seem to see the beast you're dealing with. You will not be saving any money if you start into this project, do some things wrong, and give up and hire an electrician. Then you will have purchased material, which will likely be scrapped, and you'll still be out the $4000. And you'll be behind schedule.

If you hire someone, it is likely the laws of your state will dictate that this person be a master electrician. It is likely that the handyman is not licensed for this work. That will force you to either do it under the table, and uninspected, or lose the guy. You need to have your work inspected, or all this effort is for naught. An electrical inspector is there to ensure the safety of the work. They are not to be feared or avoided. They are not a nuisance, they are a blessing.

Please do not interpret this as a rant. This is well-intentioned advice to someone who deserves respect for seeking input, and deserves heart-felt advice. I'm not trying to pick on you, I'm just telling you what I see from the window into your world you've given us.
 
  #19  
Old 03-30-06, 11:57 AM
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Originally Posted by Rocky Mountain
98, I think you're kinda missing the big picture here. If you try to do this yourself, you're going to end up with more of the same, no offense is intended by that. This problem is the result of years of people passing through, getting stuff done just enough to get it visibly working again.

No matter how strong your desire to do a good job, and go above "getting it just done enough," you are only human. It's a difficult task before you, and I would not blame you a bit for losing resolve after completing less than half the work.

No matter how strong your desire to do a good job, you're limited by experience. I'm limited by experience. In a few months, I'll obtain a license that will enable me to legally oversee any commercial job I decide to. But I am unqualified, and I recognize that, and have a respect for that lack of experience. I can see enough of that beast to be humbled, and respect it.

You don't seem to see the beast you're dealing with. You will not be saving any money if you start into this project, do some things wrong, and give up and hire an electrician. Then you will have purchased material, which will likely be scrapped, and you'll still be out the $4000. And you'll be behind schedule.

If you hire someone, it is likely the laws of your state will dictate that this person be a master electrician. It is likely that the handyman is not licensed for this work. That will force you to either do it under the table, and uninspected, or lose the guy. You need to have your work inspected, or all this effort is for naught. An electrical inspector is there to ensure the safety of the work. They are not to be feared or avoided. They are not a nuisance, they are a blessing.

Please do not interpret this as a rant. This is well-intentioned advice to someone who deserves respect for seeking input, and deserves heart-felt advice. I'm not trying to pick on you, I'm just telling you what I see from the window into your world you've given us.

WELL PUT
ok youve all convinced me
I will call up a few electricians and get some bids
 
  #20  
Old 03-30-06, 03:04 PM
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Originally Posted by 98vert6spd
He did work over here as an electrician at a steel mill for quite some time but never got licensed.
Allow me to re-emphasize that residential wiring is different in many ways. The guys that are mine electricians or poco linemen usually don't know how to wire a simple light switch. The rules for kitchens/dining areas, bathrooms, basements, outdoors, bedrooms, laundries, outbuildings, etc., are not intuitive.
You can't guess. You have to know.

The steel mill no doubt was higher voltage and three-phase. That work just doesn't translate well to residential voltages, wiring methods, box sizes, and numerous requirements.


That said, there is a lot of work that you could do to prepare for the electrician.
You can have the walls open and the holes drilled to his specifications.

If you get the power shut off at the transformer or service head, you could remove all the old stuff that is to be removed.

You can drive the ground rods where the electrician recommends.

This should save a lot of labor cost.
You won't have to worry about having the wrong materials.

You will got a chance to see what it looks like done correctly.
 
  #21  
Old 03-31-06, 06:48 AM
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I like this idea
 
  #22  
Old 03-31-06, 09:40 PM
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Bolide has a GREAT Idea. Ther is so much you can do yourself (under guidence) to save some time. Time =$.
Find someone you can work with, And I'm sure they will let you do some of the not so technical stuff. Beleif it or not you'll learn a ton!!
 
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