All overhead lights on the same circuit

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  #1  
Old 12-21-14, 06:05 PM
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All overhead lights on the same circuit

Hey guys

My house was built in the 1920's and I believe it was rewired sometime in the 50's. The wiring is the old cloth covered romex with no ground wire.

I've decided that I want to slowly rewire the whole house and I planned to do this one room at a time. Right now, I'm getting ready to start on the master bedroom. My plan was to rewire that room on its own circuit. The trouble is, the overhead lights for the entire house (2 story house) are all on the same circuit. There's also a couple of receptacles on the overhead light circuit too.

I'm somewhat of a novice so I'm having trouble figuring out how this was accomplished. Since it was wired so long ago, I'm pretty confident that they didn't use 12/3 wire to accomplish it.

Right now, in the master bedroom, I've traced a cable that goes from the light switch, into a j-box in the closet. From there, I have no idea the route it's taking through the wall to get to the light, or where the cable that's feeding it power is coming from.

I'm just curious as to if anyone has any tips that could help me figure out how this stupid house is wired without having to rip out the ceilings throughout the whole house. Are there any tools out there to help trace the path that wires are taking throughout your house?
 
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Old 12-21-14, 06:23 PM
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The first thing you need to do is to determine what exactly is on each circuit. Once you knw what is on a circuit you can visualize better how it's run. You could buy a tone tracer system to find the exact path of the wire but that would be fairly useless as there usually isn't much of a way of running the cable the same way with the walls and ceilings being rocked/covered.

Usually new wiring from the attic down or a basement up to a room is fairly straight forward. When I get called to rewire a house of your vintage it's usually being re-sheetrocked.

Accepted practice now is to put the lights only in several rooms on one circuit. The receptacles in each room can be on their own circuits also. Best not to mix lighting and receptacles.
 
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Old 12-21-14, 07:24 PM
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If you are rewiring there really isn't much need to figure out how the old circuits are run. Run the new circuits and then remove the old.
 
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Old 12-21-14, 07:43 PM
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Maybe I'm misunderstanding something, but If I pull the bedroom lights off the circuit, aren't I effectively breaking the circuit and the rest of the overhead lights downstream will stop working too?
 
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Old 12-21-14, 07:56 PM
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Maybe I'm misunderstanding something, but If I pull the bedroom lights off the circuit, aren't I effectively breaking the circuit and the rest of the overhead lights downstream will stop working too?
Don't be offended, but I don't think you have the knowledge needed to rewire a house.
 
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Old 12-21-14, 08:10 PM
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Before you start to rewire the house, you can get down to a little basics first.

Pete suggested knowing exactly what is on each breaker, that's a good start. Map out your entire house and double check you have each device accounted for.

As far as rewiring and tracing circuits, do you have an attic?
 
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Old 12-21-14, 08:22 PM
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I'm pretty confident that they didn't use 12/3 wire to accomplish it.
It would usually be 14-2 even if wired today. 12-3 would be 3-conductors plus ground on a 20 amp circuit.
My plan was to rewire that room on its own circuit. The trouble is, the overhead lights for the entire house (2 story house) are all on the same circuit. There's also a couple of receptacles on the overhead light circuit too.
Leave the lights and run a new circuit for the receptacles. The feeds for receptacles from the lights would be disconnected at both ends and abandoned in place by cutting as sort as possible and pushing them out of the box.

You don't worry about tracing the existing cables because if you are abandoning them in place as I described it doesn't matter.

I believe part of what Joe is saying is you have to understand circuits well enough to improvise as you go along. There is no set in stone one way. You have to be able to adapt to what you find. The book Wiring Simplified from on line book sellers such as Amazon and in the electrical aisle of some home stores is a good start.
 
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Old 12-21-14, 08:25 PM
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I think you should review the code requirements for branch circuits and then plan circuits for the other areas.
 
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Old 12-21-14, 09:50 PM
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Don't be offended, but I don't think you have the knowledge needed to rewire a house
I'm not offended, but I'm here to get help/gain knowledge. Your comment did not help me to gain any knowledge.
 
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Old 12-21-14, 09:58 PM
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Leave the lights and run a new circuit for the receptacles. The feeds for receptacles from the lights would be disconnected at both ends and abandoned in place by cutting as sort as possible and pushing them out of the box.

You don't worry about tracing the existing cables because if you are abandoning them in place as I described it doesn't matter.

I believe part of what Joe is saying is you have to understand circuits well enough to improvise as you go along. There is no set in stone one way. You have to be able to adapt to what you find. The book Wiring Simplified from on line book sellers such as Amazon and in the electrical aisle of some home stores is a good start.
Thanks. I just ordered the book you recommended off of Amazon.
 
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