Re-wire ranch house


Old 07-08-07, 10:46 AM
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Re-wire ranch house


I live in a 1300 sq. ft. ranch house in Kansas City that was built in 1950. Iím looking to update the wiring as its old, brittle and mostly aluminum. We have a 100 amp service and it runs to a main fuse box then to a sub panel. The sub-panel has 4 screw in fuses that powers lights and outlets in the house. I'd like to get the house re-wired and a new fuse box installed. What's a ball park number I can use so we can start saving? Are there any questions I should ask when talking with the electricians? Finally, we have textured, plaster walls and we're worried about damage to the walls. Should we expect a lot of holes needed to be created in the re-wiring process?

Thanks in advance for your replies,
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Old 07-08-07, 11:08 AM
Join Date: Sep 2004
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Ranches are easy to rewire, as you usually have access from both basement and attic. The screw in type (Edison) and presence of Al makes for a good candidate for rewire.

I would ask for quotes to "upgrade service to 200 Amp" (around 1500 in your area). That will get you a nice sized panel so you can add circuits yourself and kill the old ones as you go. Rewiring isn't very hard, read some books. You'll probably want a pro for a kitchen, maybe a bath.
Old 07-08-07, 12:10 PM
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Wet side of Washington state.
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Unless a large-scale re-wiring has taken place since this house was originally built (1950) I seriously doubt that you have aluminum wire. You may have tinned copper wire and the way to tell is to look at the end of a freshly cut piece or to scrape (with a knife) the conductor and see if it is shiny copper or shiny aluminum.

Aluminum wire was used briefly duriing the 1960's and maybe into the 1970's because of high copper prices. For larger sizes (service entrance, range and electric furnaces) aluminum is still being used although in these larger sizes and with proper termination procedures it is not a problem.

Completely re-wiring a home is not a week-end project but it is well within the possibility of a competent DIYer. I think that if it were me I would have the new service installed with a feeder to the existing fuse panels and then you can work at your own pace doing the rest of the job.

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