How to Rewire home?

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Old 03-26-13, 12:18 PM
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How to Rewire home?

Hello All,

Most of the outlets in my home are not grounded. This is with the exception of the kitchen and bathrooms. The wiring in the wall is old 2-wire and its actually in really good shape, the insulation is still soft and pliable ... in homes as old as mine (~50 years) I've seen that old wiring become dry and cracked so I count myself as lucky in that regard.

Coming back to the ungrounded outlets, I want to ground them all. I'll also be adding light fixtures while I'm at it. I'm just now sure how to go about rewiring the house.

I'm considering three options:

1.0 Drop 12/2 between the studs into each bedroom (and push it up from the basement) to power the outlets. Have those wires meet at a conduit box which will have a wire going down to load center.

1.1 My concern here is that the old wiring will still be in the wall. Even though its not connected to anything, I'm wondering if this is still safe. The obvious answer is clearly "yes" but I'm an admitted amateur so I need the reassurance. Second, the new wiring will not be stapled down to anything, it'll just dangle. I might also find myself tearing out walling anyway to get the new wire through any cross-bracing between the studs.

2.0 Tear down the plaster/drywall, rewire everything using existing holes.

2.1 I could do this and it'll make the whole job so much easier, but its also going to make it more expensive. My wife is in my ear about getting into the house ASAP (we're living with mom until renovations are finished) so more cost = more $$$ since we're paying cash for everything. Doing it this way will only make it that much more expensive since I have to put all new drywall up t/o the house which is ~3,500 sq ft. That doesn't even count the wood paneling in the library and original built-in shelving which has original built-in power outlets (go figure).

3.0 This seems to me to be the best option. The house is on baseboard heat, the old baseboard system had "recessed" units, meaning there was a cutout in the wall that housed the fin/tube. The cut outs are at the floor in the "baseboard" spot and in most cases, nearly run the entire perimeter of the room. That recess still exists and, in fact, is still exposed. I'm thinking of running the wiring inside of the recess, close it up with drywall which has been the plan the whole time, and be done with the project.

3.1 This seems like the best option to me, just not sure if its OK safety wise. I'm not all that concerned about puncturing a wire because the new baseboards will be installed over the new drywall, they will act as the "steel plate" protecting the area. But for one, they won't cover 100% of the area where the wires will reside, maybe 95% of it. Second, I understand Romex is rated to ~196 degree Fahrenheit. My boiler will be set to 180 degrees, my baseboards are high output (730 btuh / lin. ft.) which means they might be operating somewhere around 175 degrees on the hot end, 160 on the low end. I'm concerned about the wiring nearest the "hot spots" of the heating system, I know its a big difference between 175 and 196, I just don't want to push the envelope.


Please share your expertise and ideas, thanks!
 
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Old 03-26-13, 01:51 PM
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Welcome to the forums.

You'll get a lot of different opinions on how to do the work.

Here's my OPINION:

It makes the most sense to remove the sheetrock and plaster to rewire. However that is costly and time consuming.
There could be two pluses for using this method:
1) Makes it easier to rewire and add more devices.
2) Update the insulation from probably miserable now to something effective.

It is also do-able to fish wires in the wall cavities. You may have to remove the boxes and do some spot patching when re-installing same.
The old wiring would be disconnected and abandoned.

I'm thinking of running the wiring inside of the recess, close it up with drywall
Ok.....does that mean you will be removing the baseboard from that exisiting recess..... installing wiring in that recess, close off the recess with sheetrock and then install baseboard over new sheetrock.

That would work. The wiring would be insulated from the baseboard with the installation of the new sheetrock.
 
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Old 03-26-13, 04:16 PM
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1.0 Drop 12/2 between the studs into each bedroom (and push it up from the basement) to power the outlets. Have those wires meet at a conduit box which will have a wire going down to load center.
This is what I would do. In fact, I would drop or push a pair of cables at each location and avoid the J-box if I could. Nothing wrong with it, just one more splice point. It will get really full, though, if you run a cable to there from every receptacle outlet.

1.1 My concern here is that the old wiring will still be in the wall. Even though its not connected to anything, I'm wondering if this is still safe. The obvious answer is clearly "yes" but I'm an admitted amateur so I need the reassurance. Second, the new wiring will not be stapled down to anything, it'll just dangle. I might also find myself tearing out walling anyway to get the new wire through any cross-bracing between the studs.
If you can't pull them out, it is perfectly acceptable to cut the existing cables short and push them back in the wall. You'll have to replace the existing boxes in order to do this work. After you remove a box you can check to see what you can do to get rid of the old wiring.

Wiring fished through the cavity behind an existing wall covering does not have to be secured to the framing. If you open the wall for any reason, then you have to secure the wiring. As for making holes through firestops or other blocking, that's what they make 5' flexible bits for. (There is no cross-bracing between studs, only between joists.)

2.0 Tear down the plaster/drywall, rewire everything using existing holes.
More time, more money, more mess. You'll need a gondola outside for the debris and you'll have to tape and finish all the new drywall before you can paint or paper it.

2.1 ... That doesn't even count the wood paneling in the library and original built-in shelving which has original built-in power outlets (go figure).
Those sound cool! I'd put some effort into keeping those looking the way they are now.

3.0 ... I'm thinking of running the wiring inside of the recess, close it up with drywall which has been the plan the whole time, and be done with the project.

3.1 This seems like the best option to me, just not sure if its OK safety wise. I'm not all that concerned about puncturing a wire because the new baseboards will be installed over the new drywall, they will act as the "steel plate" protecting the area. But for one, they won't cover 100% of the area where the wires will reside, maybe 95% of it. Second, I understand Romex is rated to ~196 degree Fahrenheit. My boiler will be set to 180 degrees, my baseboards are high output (730 btuh / lin. ft.) which means they might be operating somewhere around 175 degrees on the hot end, 160 on the low end. I'm concerned about the wiring nearest the "hot spots" of the heating system, I know its a big difference between 175 and 196, I just don't want to push the envelope.
The drywall will protect the wiring from physical damage. The design and construction of your new baseboard heaters will protect the wiring from heat damage.

But what does this gain you? How is it easier, cheaper or faster than popping cables up from the basement? And won't doing this delay getting the bottoms of the walls repaired and finished, and the new heat installed?
 
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Old 03-26-13, 05:57 PM
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You have a point on the insulation. I'm not quite ready to insulate the entire house, the thought of that makes my head spin with costs multiplying. I can always have blown in put in later, right?

As far as running the wires inside the recess, yes I will remove what is left of the old baseboard, install wiring in the cavity, close off the recess with new sheetrock and install baseboard over the new sheetrock. Why?

I live in Detroit, copper thieves are a big problem here. I bought this house as a foreclosure and by the time I picked it up, much of the copper was gone. The boiler was gone, half the baseboards were gone. Whats left is not worth trying to incorporate into the new system. Surprisingly, the thieves only took what they could see, so much copper was left in the walls, but still, about 70% of the baseboards were gone.

I took this as a blessing and curse, for one, I bought the house knowing its condition so I wasn't surprised. Two, it gives me the opportunity to install a new, high efficiency system. But, its going to cost, ah well...
 
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Old 03-26-13, 06:01 PM
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Thanks for the reply, I was really torn between option 1 and 3. But I was going to close in the recess anyway... why? My new baseboards are too tall for the recess, even if I take the heating element out of the new baseboards and try to mount it in the recess, they're too wide and I'd have to get custom covers made. So its going to be much easier to just close the recess with new drywall. I figured since I'm closing the recess anyway, I might as well make use of it while its open.
 
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Old 03-26-13, 07:24 PM
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I figured since I'm closing the recess anyway, I might as well make use of it while its open.
Your choice; either way will meet code. It just seems easier to me to pop the cables up from below where they're needed than to try to cross-drill through the bottom of a lot of studs and then pull the cable through there.
 
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