What would I expect to pay?

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  #1  
Old 08-10-11, 09:16 AM
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What would I expect to pay?

I want to re-wire my house. It was built in 1940, and the electrical is currently a hodgepodge of romex, antique cloth insulated wiring, and from what I can tell there's probably some bubble gum in there...

This is my current panel layout:

Isn't it pretty?

I have some experience with wiring and am comfortable running lines and hooking up outlets, but nothing on this scope, and I also am aware that to upgrade the panel (which I think is sorely needed) to 200A which means a new main line to the house, so obviously I need a proper inspection and such, so a pro is a must.

However, we're on a budget, so what I would like to do is bring in a pro as a consultant/finisher. Initially I'd want him or her to come in and review my plan and help me figure out the new wiring layout. Then I would open the necessary points and run the wires myself without actually hooking them up, just getting them run properly to the correct end points.

Finally, the pro would come in again, check my work, and wire up the panel while I swap the fixtures over from the old wiring to the new, and finally I'd remove all the old.

Questions:
1) Is this a reasonable idea for a project?
2) What would I expect to pay a pro for this kind of work?
3) What kind of costs am I looking at for a new panel?

Thanks much!

BTW if you liked that pic, here are some other gems:

Morrets? What are those???


Seriously, why do we need to cover the copper?


Nobody will EVER put a nail or screw in the CEILING...
 
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  #2  
Old 08-10-11, 09:42 AM
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Originally Posted by chaeberle View Post
I want to re-wire my house.
To what end? What specifically are your goals for the project? Do you need more power for appliances/hot tub/etc? Do you need more receptacles? You could anything from a complete gut and rewire to 2011 code to just adding a few circuits here and there.

I also am aware that to upgrade the panel (which I think is sorely needed) to 200A which means a new main line to the house
If you are not tripping breakers currently and not planning on adding any major loads, then a full service upgrade is probably not necessary. You may want to add a subpanel for more breaker spaces or replace the main panel with a larger one; however your old panel is a good brand so there is no pressing need to replace it.

1) Is this a reasonable idea for a project?
It is difficult to do a pro/homeowner hybrid job, so you may have trouble finding an electrician to agree to let you do some of the work. There are legal, insurance and scheduling reasons which can often make it impractical but call around to local contractors to see what you can find out.

2) What would I expect to pay a pro for this kind of work?
If it's all replacing old-work, most guys would charge time + materials. Basically you don't know if it's going to take 10 minutes or 2 hours to do a circuit when the wall is closed up. If you demo out the plaster/drywall and have open studs you can have it bid as a total job with a price upfront.

3) What kind of costs am I looking at for a new panel?
An uncomplicated panel/service job will usually run about $1,500.
 
  #3  
Old 08-10-11, 09:58 AM
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Originally Posted by ibpooks View Post
To what end? What specifically are your goals for the project? Do you need more power for appliances/hot tub/etc? Do you need more receptacles? You could anything from a complete gut and rewire to 2011 code to just adding a few circuits here and there.
A complete gut and rewire. Several reasons including simply not trusting the existing wiring (when I have to touch the old wiring it's insulation simply falls apart and I have NO idea how much the prior home owner may have effed up. I do need more receptacles, and want our current ones to be grounded (they're not), and I run a lot of computer equipment as well.

If you are not tripping breakers currently and not planning on adding any major loads, then a full service upgrade is probably not necessary. You may want to add a subpanel for more breaker spaces or replace the main panel with a larger one; however your old panel is a good brand so there is no pressing need to replace it.
We do get trips from time to time. Between the fridge, dishwasher, disposal, 3 computers, 2 laptops, my power tools and my a/v equipment, I just don't think a 100A box is enough and did you notice those two little offshoot boxes in the pic?

They scare the hell out of me, frankly.

So I figure get it all in one 200A box and even set up for an eventual generator add on, possibly.

It is difficult to do a pro/homeowner hybrid job, so you may have trouble finding an electrician to agree to let you do some of the work. There are legal, insurance and scheduling reasons which can often make it impractical but call around to local contractors to see what you can find out.
This makes sense to me.

If it's all replacing old-work, most guys would charge time + materials. Basically you don't know if it's going to take 10 minutes or 2 hours to do a circuit when the wall is closed up. If you demo out the plaster/drywall and have open studs you can have it bid as a total job with a price upfront.
I'm gonna be opening up the walls as needed anyway, so maybe I will go this route. For a 2 story + finished basement, 3 BR house with 2 baths etc, what would you figure on a rough total price?

Obviously, big wide ballpark number...
 
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Old 08-10-11, 10:17 AM
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Originally Posted by chaeberle View Post
I just don't think a 100A box is enough and did you notice those two little offshoot boxes in the pic?...They scare the hell out of me, frankly.
Those are probably the original fuse panels from 1940. When someone upgraded to the breaker panel they either fed the old panels as subpanels or used them as junction boxes to extend the original circuits to the new panel.

So I figure get it all in one 200A box and even set up for an eventual generator add on, possibly.
That's a reasonable plan.

This makes sense to me.
To expound a little bit: if you make a mistake that causes an injury/fire/etc and that comes back to work done under the electrician's permit and license he could be held responsible under some circumstances for letting an unlicensed person work under him.

What may be more effective would be if you could make obvious segments in the work and pull separate permits for your work and the electrician's work. For example, the electrician does the main panel and generator hookups; you do the circuits for the upstairs rooms, and so forth.

Obviously, big wide ballpark number...
Perhaps $5k on the lower end, $10k on the higher end.
 
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Old 08-10-11, 10:26 AM
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Sheesh. $5-$10k...

Maybe I should hope for an electrical fire instead... *oi vey*
 
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Old 08-10-11, 10:33 AM
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Honestly what I would recommend is to have an electrician do the main panel and generator hookup, then you or him add a handful of new grounded circuits to the rooms where they will be most useful and improve safety the most. This would be bathrooms, kitchens, AV & computer gear. Leave most of the existing wiring as-is and put it on AFCI and/or GFCI breakers. At $50/circuit it's great insurance for old wiring. You can also do some basic safety improvements like hardwired smoke detectors, GFCI receptacles where needed. This approach gives you targeted improvements without a major gut and wirepulling effort.
 
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Old 08-10-11, 10:36 AM
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And don't forget...that's just the electrical side. When you open things up fully (if you do) you may find notched studs and joists that will need repair..not to mention the sheetrock and other materials to close it back up.
 
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Old 08-10-11, 10:56 AM
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I'm going to be opening up a lot anyway, as it is. See, we're gutting the basement right now, and while it's open there will never be a better time to upgrade this house. Galvanized plumbing to replace, ductwork to reconfigure (properly - currently there's no air return up top), and while I'm at it, I figured may as well get the electrical done too.

I'll have to start calling around - if I *can* find a pro willing to let me do the pulling (with him being able to check it all), maybe I can get it closer to the 3k mark... which I'd be a lot happier with.

Either way though, thanks a lot guys!
 
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Old 08-10-11, 11:02 AM
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I would just tell the electrician that you want to upgrade to a 200A service and have an interlock installed for a generator. Once he Is done, you can rewire your circuts as needed.


Those two black boxes are just junction boxes. I have seen a number of them installed in my area in older homes.
 
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Old 08-10-11, 11:05 AM
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Originally Posted by Justin Smith View Post
I would just tell the electrician that you want to upgrade to a 200A service and have an interlock installed for a generator. Once he Is done, you can rewire your circuts as needed.
One question on this - if he touches a particular circuit - doesn't he have to make sure that entire circuit is up to current code?

And by definition, isn't upgrading the box touching every single circuit?

Cause I'd LOVE to go that route - really I would!
 
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Old 08-10-11, 11:22 AM
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One question on this - if he touches a particular circuit - doesn't he have to make sure that entire circuit is up to current code?

And by definition, isn't upgrading the box touching every single circuit?

Cause I'd LOVE to go that route - really I would!
Upgrading the panel isn't considered modifying the circut. Everything would still be grandfathered.
 
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Old 08-10-11, 11:27 AM
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Originally Posted by Justin Smith View Post
Upgrading the panel isn't considered modifying the circut. Everything would still be grandfathered.
This makes me very happy.
 
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Old 08-10-11, 12:12 PM
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He can replace the service panel without upgrading the entire circuit. Depending on local application of the code he may or may not be required to install AFCI breakers in the new panel for the old circuits, but that would be the most he would be required to do to them.
 
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Old 08-10-11, 07:39 PM
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Once the service and main panel is upgraded, you can tackle everything else on a room by room basis. The hardest parts of a house rewire are
1) understanding the codes as to receptacle spacing and which rooms require dedicated circuits.
and
2) pulling the wires without doing too much damage to existing walls, etc.

As long as you have some basic knowledge already and are willing to learn and do things right, it'll take you longer than it'll take a pro, but you can do it!

Go room by room, map out what you want, and go from there. Plus, we're all here to help!
 
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