Hiring Electrician Advice?

Reply

  #1  
Old 01-10-11, 08:32 AM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: USA
Posts: 43
Hiring Electrician Advice?

I plan on hiring someone to completely re-wire my house. I'm a little nervous hiring out since this will be my first time as a home owner. Thats what brings me here so hopefully when I dive in I will have a bit more knowledge. I doubt I have enough to do the entire house right now because its quite large. I'll have around $7000 to get started with. I at least want to focus on the rooms that are mainly used for now. Are there things that I can do that will lower the cost? Or any other tips you can give me that could benefit me in this upcoming project?
 
Sponsored Links
  #2  
Old 01-10-11, 08:58 AM
DIYMaster's Avatar
Member
Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: USA
Posts: 62
Can you do drywall? A considerable amount of drywall will need to be cut out and then repatched. Your electrician can assist you in identifying those areas to be cut out.

If the drywall is cut properly, the same piece can go right back into the cutout and save a considerable amount of work and expense.
 
  #3  
Old 01-10-11, 10:15 AM
Forum Topic Moderator
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Near Lansing, Michigan
Posts: 10,515
Originally Posted by jsamp View Post
I plan on hiring someone to completely re-wire my house.
Are you sure a complete rewire is necessary? Most houses can be updated quite sufficiently by adding remedial GFCI to ungrounded circuits, rewiring high usage areas like kitchen and bath, and adding a few circuits to select locations as needed. Circuits in general living spaces like bedrooms and living room/den rarely need a full rewire.
 
  #4  
Old 01-10-11, 10:36 AM
ray2047's Avatar
Group Moderator
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: USA
Posts: 33,055
A considerable amount of drywall will need to be cut out and then repatched.
Maybe but if it is one story with unfinished attic or basement very little Sheetrock will need removal.
 
  #5  
Old 01-10-11, 11:19 AM
DIYMaster's Avatar
Member
Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: USA
Posts: 62
Originally Posted by ray2047 View Post
Maybe but if it is one story with unfinished attic or basement very little Sheetrock will need removal.
The copper thieves are rampant here. They come in the middle of the night to attack houses under construction. If the drywall is up, they go into the attic or crawlspace and grab whatever they can get, leaving the contractor to re-wire the house. I have seen quite a few houses lately that needed to be re-wired and did a few myself. In every case a "considerable" amount of drywall had to be removed.

I guess it's a matter of opinion, but the questioner needs to understand there COULD be "considerable" expense in the drywall work in addition to the electrical work.
 
  #6  
Old 01-10-11, 11:20 AM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: USA
Posts: 43
A little more info could of been included in my OP. Thank you for replying to this noobie dyi'er.

Its an older home built in 1921. It has original plaster walls and original wood floors. I can do drywall and can repair small sections of plaster. It has the original knob and tube wiring. There is a basement, 1st floor, 2nd floor and attic. Perhaps some of the knob and tube wiring is still good but in the basement some of it, though I'm no expert, just looks like a rookie spliced into it to add addition outlets in the basement and kitchen. I had a problem with a few circuits that just quit working correctly so I have about half of the circuit breakers off. I just keep the ones on that we need to use.

All the circuits are overloaded in here. All 4 bedrooms are on the same circuit. I found this out the hard way when trying to run 2 space heaters in my kids room. There are a total of 6 outlets and 5 lights on the one bedroom circuit. Its a mess really and the old k&T wiring makes me nervous.

My basic needs right now are getting the entire 1st floor done, the laundry area in the basement, the upstairs bathroom, and at least the 2 kids rooms which I want to put baseboard heaters in. The wife and mines bedroom can wait at the moment since we are still refinishing it but hopefully I can do that room within our budget also. The 4th bedroom, the attic, and the 2nd half of the basement we never use so it can wait.

Ok hopefully that info helps you to help me better. My concerns are getting ripped off considering I dont make very much money and I got to take a loan against my 401k to do it. I'm not looking for the most cosmetic of solutions. I need something that will pass code and gets the job done. I dont care if outlets have to be on the floor, if conduit has to be run up the corners of the rooms, if I have to run through raceways hanging on the wall, etc.
 
  #7  
Old 01-10-11, 11:34 AM
Forum Topic Moderator
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Near Lansing, Michigan
Posts: 10,515
Originally Posted by jsamp View Post
older home built in 1921...original knob and tube wiring
Okay that makes sense for a complete rewire.

I found this out the hard way when trying to run 2 space heaters in my kids room.
Yeah, no space heaters on K&T circuits. That's a recipe for trouble.

I'm not looking for the most cosmetic of solutions. I need something that will pass code and gets the job done. I dont care if outlets have to be on the floor, if conduit has to be run up the corners of the rooms, if I have to run through raceways hanging on the wall, etc.
You could look into using wiremold surface raceway. It requires minimal cutting into the walls as everything is mounted to the surface of the wall, and it can be painted to match the room.

 
  #8  
Old 01-10-11, 12:39 PM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: USA
Posts: 43
My basic needs right now are getting the entire 1st floor done, the laundry area in the basement, the upstairs bathroom, and at least the 2 kids rooms which I want to put baseboard heaters in. The wife and mines bedroom can wait at the moment since we are still refinishing it but hopefully I can do that room within our budget also. The 4th bedroom, the attic, and the 2nd half of the basement we never use so it can wait.
So based on my needs above do you think the following ideas will be at or below my $7000 budget? I can have them do floor mounted outlets on the 1st floor, run conduit up the corners of the rooms to get the kids rooms, run raceways in the upstairs bedrooms, theres minimal wiring in the bathrooms so redo those, and redo the laundry area.

Am I at least in the right ballpark? Any other suggestions to help me out? I plan on making phone calls and getting a few bids for the project by the end of this week. Any cheaper code compliant methods available?
 
  #9  
Old 01-10-11, 12:43 PM
Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: USA
Posts: 3,188
Since your original post also asked the question about hiring an electrician I'll try to answer that. Two things are important. The electrician and the contract. Look for local guys that have been in business for a while. Ask friends, relatives neighbors etc. Once you find a few reliable contractors ask for bids. You'll probably see a big gap in bids. If you do, opt for the middle. Verify that they are licensed and insured. Don't take the guy's word for it. A pro electrician isn't going to mind showing his bona fides.

Be VERY specific about what you want done. Specify a completion date. A contract that has a work description of "rewire the house" can be very problematic if there are any disagreements. Most contract disputes are usually a matter of misunderstanding and miscommunication.

If you are working within a budget consider upgrading in stages. If that's the direction you end up going, make sure you communicate that to your electrician. It gives him an opportunity to plan the job correctly and it might be cheaper in the long run. You may be able to hire on as a free helper. I had the same electrician for years and I pulled a lot of wire for the guy - for free. It saved him the cost of a helper and kept him out of the oven-like attic while I ran the cables.

I owned several rental properties that I upgraded to modern wiring. I used the same electrician for every job. In each one we started with new service and ran new circuits for everything. The electrical demand when your house was built nowhere resembles the load in a modern home. Figure out what your service needs are (100A, 150A, etc.) and sit down with your electrician to come up with a game plan. IMO when it comes to upgrades it's service upgrade if needed and then new kitchen and baths circuits.

Look at the possibility of adding a cable chase in a closet or wall. Being able to run drops from the attic makes things a lot easier. Electricians have lots of experience with upgrades and they know how to minimize wall damage. I can't remember ever having to do much plaster or drywall repair.

If you haven't done it yet, I suggest investing in a copy of House Wiring Simplified. A little remedial reading and you and your electrician can be speaking the same language.
 
  #10  
Old 01-10-11, 01:18 PM
Forum Topic Moderator
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Near Lansing, Michigan
Posts: 10,515
Originally Posted by jsamp View Post
So based on my needs above do you think the following ideas will be at or below my $7000 budget?
If you also need to do the main service, that should be done first and will probably cost $1,500-2,500. There's a lot of variables in pricing one so I couldn't really pin it down further. You should be able to get quite a bit done on the interior for the remaining $5,000. I would be very cautious in mentioning your total budget during the estimates -- if they know you have $7k to spend, somehow the quotes will hover around $7k...see what I mean?

I can have them do floor mounted outlets on the 1st floor
Discuss with the contractor, but floor-mounted recept. run something like $100/ea. wholesale for the rated box and cover. Wall mounted will probably be least-cost in this case.

Any cheaper code compliant methods available?
Cheapest in terms of materials is NM-B cable and plastic boxes, but that can cost more in labor to retrofit into plaster walls. That method may be appropriate for some of the interior walls that are easier to access.
 
  #11  
Old 01-10-11, 02:06 PM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: USA
Posts: 43
Thank you Wayne for the wall of text it was really informative and more than preciously answered my original question. Thanks again. The closest chase interested me. I had to re-plumb most of my house and went up between the middle 3 load bearing joists from the basement. It shoots up to an alcove style bath on the other side a bedroom closet then obviously up goes to the attic. Would be very easy to run cable up/down that way.

ibpooks thanks also big help. I'm definitely not saying how much I have. I also plan on adding a new service panel after all thats where it begins I didnt realize floor mounted outlets would cost that much thanks for pointing that out. I guess it may be necessary in a few spots perhaps.

So it sounds like I may get most of this project done within my budget given I can get a good electrician. Thanks for clearing up some of my questions and concerns everyone.
 
Reply

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Display Modes