Rewiring Process

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  #1  
Old 06-26-06, 04:52 PM
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Join Date: May 2006
Location: Dallas, TX USA
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Rewiring Process

I just bought a wonderful one story slap in TX ... a do-it-yourselfer's dream ;-)

There are quite a few issues in relation to the electrical system and I'd like to get some comments on how I have planned to proceed.

I have a 100 Amp Federal Pacific "Stab-Loc" panel (which don't have a main disconnect), with a primarily two-wire system. I'm missing GFCI in all the required locations and there are old wiring all over the attic that is in unknown state of connectivity to the panel. I also have some underpowered and/or incorrectly wired circuits (eg. fridge is not on a dedicated circuit, so my lights dim every time it's powers on).

This is what I've planned ...

- First, install a new panel and have an electrician come out and connect this to my service. I want to use this new panel as the basis for all my new circuits and I'm assuming I can run both the old and new panel in parrallel while I complete my work, is this correct? I also assume that it's not a job for an unlicensed person to attempt to hook this panel up to my service ... correct?

- Second, rewire kitchen with appropriate GFCI outlets and separate circuits for fridge, dishwasher, disposal etc. Am I allowed to wire the 220 volts for my range as well? I saw something in one of my books that indicated that this is a job for a licensed person ... which I thought was strange

- Then, I was simply planning on taking a room at a time to rewire as appropriate. A large part of the house has new wiring for a lot of the recessed lighting the previous owner had installed, so I was planning on simply routing those circuits to the new panel. Along the process I'm clearing out old wiring and disconnecting all old 2-wire wiring.

Anything here that sounds unreasonable?

A couple of clarifying questions for the pros out there ...

- since I'm running this wire through the attic and down into the walls: any good websites out there with tips/tricks that might help me in this process? what is the appropriate way to run cable in the attic ... where and how to fasten? I'm assuming that I'm not going to have to run conduit correct? Right now, the wires are fastened on the "floor" of the attic, which seems a little dangerous, since other people have then later laid boards etc on top of those wires to walk on ... makes me a little uncomfortable to say the least

- TXU electric has a pretty reasonable solution for a whole-house surge protection system ... would this require me to have a complete wiring (with the appropriate ground) installed for it to be effective?

- When I'm running my new circuit, I have no interest in keeping the existing receptacles. Can I install the new circuits in the locations where the old boxes for receptacles and switches are, as long as I completely disconnect and cut away the old wiring? Is there any tips or tricks on how to get the old boxes out of the wall?

Any help is much appreciated.
 
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  #2  
Old 06-27-06, 09:45 AM
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Originally Posted by richardfj
I have a 100 Amp Federal Pacific "Stab-Loc" panel (which don't have a main disconnect)...First, install a new panel and have an electrician come out and connect this to my service. I want to use this new panel as the basis for all my new circuits and I'm assuming I can run both the old and new panel in parrallel while I complete my work, is this correct? I also assume that it's not a job for an unlicensed person to attempt to hook this panel up to my service ... correct?
Have the electrician out to replace the entire panel first. The new panel needs to be designed and installed as a main service by a professional. Also, he will need to replace the meter box and the conduits and cables that run outside to the power company service drop. He will not energize a panel that you have already installed, because he doesn't know you did it correctly and it's his license on the line if you screwed up.

Second, rewire kitchen with appropriate GFCI outlets and separate circuits for fridge, dishwasher, disposal etc. Am I allowed to wire the 220 volts for my range as well?...Anything here that sounds unreasonable?
These are all jobs you can tackle yourself with some learning. I recommend getting a couple good books on home wiring; check the home center or library.

what is the appropriate way to run cable in the attic ... where and how to fasten?
Wiring in the attic should be run alongside a substantial framing member such that is cannot be stepped on. If you run wiring perpendicular to the joists, install a 2x4 and run the cable alongside it. NM cable should be supported at least every 4 feet with either a staple or by running through a bored hole.

I'm assuming that I'm not going to have to run conduit correct?
Unless you have a local code that requires it, no.

Right now, the wires are fastened on the "floor" of the attic, which seems a little dangerous, since other people have then later laid boards etc on top of those wires to walk on ... makes me a little uncomfortable to say the least
Are you saying they made a sandwich between the joists and floorboards with the cable in the middle? That is very wrong, and cables should be replaced.

TXU electric has a pretty reasonable solution for a whole-house surge protection system ... would this require me to have a complete wiring (with the appropriate ground) installed for it to be effective?
No, but it does require a properly grounded and bonded service panel that your electrician will have installed during step one.

When I'm running my new circuit, I have no interest in keeping the existing receptacles. Can I install the new circuits in the locations where the old boxes for receptacles and switches are, as long as I completely disconnect and cut away the old wiring? Is there any tips or tricks on how to get the old boxes out of the wall?
Re-use the old boxes and fish the new cables into the old boxes. If you do remove old boxes, be sure to maintain proper receptacle spacing with the 12/6 rule you will read about in a home wiring book.
 
  #3  
Old 06-27-06, 10:08 AM
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Location: Central New York State
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Everything that you do will need to be up to code. That means many things:

At least two 20 amp circuits serving the kitchen counter top and dining room receptacles.

Bathrooms on separate 20 amp circuits or possibly sharing a 20 amp circuit for bathroom receptacles only.

A 20 amp laundry circuit.

GFCI protection for kitchen counter top, outside, garage, unfinished basement, and bathroom receptacles.

Proper receptacle spacing and placement in all rooms.

In other words, you need to make yourself familiar with the requirements so that you follow them. It's easy to miss something, even if you know the rules, but especially if you don't know them.


A more likely scenario that two panels in parallel is that the old panel will be made a sub panel from the new main panel that the electrician will install, but without seeing the setup, it's hard to tell what is the best solution.
 
  #4  
Old 06-27-06, 11:28 AM
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Join Date: Apr 2005
Location: Houston, TX
Posts: 74
richardfj,
You and I are in the same boat, right down to the FPE box.
When I moved in, there was not a ground to be found. Not even the lovely FPE.
What I've undertaken is a TOTAL rewire of the entire house by installing a non powered parallel system with all new switches, receps, fixtures, etc. all up to or above current code.
When all of that is done, I plan to have a licensed electrician carefully check my work, and then move my 200A upgrade service feed to the new system. At least that's the plan.
When the new system is working, I plan to disconnect any existing circuits at both ends and abandon them in place.
There is precious little space in the attic so I've decided on pulling conductors through conduit. And needless to say, in Houston, all attic work has been put on hold until Autumn/Winter.
Any of you pros see any problems in the plan?
Thanks.
 
  #5  
Old 06-27-06, 02:00 PM
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Join Date: May 2006
Location: Dallas, TX USA
Posts: 26
thanks for the great replies ... excactly what I was looking for

and yes, the wires in the attic is sandwiched (in some places) between the "floor" boards and the joists ... I like the idea of nailing up the 2x4 and running the wires along it

hondavan - so you're planning on running the complete re-wire project before you take it live? any reason why you wouldn't just do it a circuit at a time? For me, the estetics of the old receptacles etc. is not something I want to keep and if I installed the complete new system and then took out the old receptacles, that would be a whole lot of holes to cover and paint ...

racraft & ibpooks - you'll be happy to know that I (against your previous advice on other threads) tried to run separate grounding to the circuits, but after having done one bedroom quickly confirmed that: first, it was way too difficult and it would have to be much easier to drop new cable and second, it just didn't feel right and the shortcuts I had to take to make it work is exactly the kind of stuff that I'm swearing at the previous owners for having done ...

now it's just a matter of getting the house in a state where I can get some good sleep ... so that I can start my wiring work
 
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