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Old 09-29-2008, 03:26 PM   #1
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1939 House Wiring upgrade


ok, I just bought my first house, and am looking to upgrade the wiring in it. currently I have the cloth-jacketed wiring for most of it. The service is 100amp circuit breakers which is older (late 70's or early 80's). Right now, the previous owner gutted the kitchen and bath and ran new wiring to them, so those are fine, but the rest of the house could use some updates, mainly the 2nd bedroom with 1 2-prong plug in it. The house is 2 story, so I will need to get wires up to the 2nd floor.

What i am wondering, is what's the best way to go about re-wiring?

What is the best way to get wires to the 2nd floor?

Can I remove my baseboards and run new wires behind them instead of in the walls (plaster)?

How hard is it to upgrade to a 200amp service?

Do I need special wire to run outside to a covered porch lamp from the switch inside?

I am new to home ownership, but have a decent understanding of basic wiring, just nothing on re-wiring. Any help is appretiated.

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Old 09-30-2008, 10:38 AM   #2
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1939 House Wiring upgrade


Rewiring your house probably means bringing everything up to code.

This could mean interconnected smoke detectors.
AFCI circuit breakers.
GFCI circuit breakers or outlets.
New grounding system for main service panel.
New service entrance mast, weather head, meter base.
Child safe outlets.
And on and on.
(Depends on your local electrical codes.)

If you want an electrician to do the breaker panel work, might want to start there and might be easier to also have a "subpanel" installed on the 2nd floor so far as running wires goes.

Then I would go to your local electrical inspector's office and find out what all you will be required to do, find out what codes are used in your area, then get a copy of the code book(s) and start reading.

To me it would be easier to install the wires in the walls than in the baseboards. I would not even think of running wires in the baseboards. Plus you have a "bottom plate" with a stud wall which would make things difficult to get the wires up from the baseboards to the outlets.

Learn how to drywall, then you will be able to run wires anywhere you want.

I can go on and on about this but don't have the time right now...

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Old 09-30-2008, 11:39 AM   #3
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1939 House Wiring upgrade


I do know that I need an electrician to hook up the main panel, but the rest I can do myself. I believe we use NEC in my area, but need to see which version.


Also, I'd like to clarify the baseboard idea. My baseboards are 7" in height. I want to remove them, then remove the plaster from behind it and run the wires in the wall, just lower than the others. The reasoning is that the work will be covered by the baseboards once it's all done, andI won't have any noticeable patches. I read about making a wiring trench by removing a strip around the wall, running it, then re-covering it, but i'd rather leave the plaster in tact, and it'll save me from having to paint again.
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Old 09-30-2008, 11:49 AM   #4
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1939 House Wiring upgrade


Running wire behind baseboards is a tried and true method of getting wiring to new locations, when done right. And by right, I mean pulling the baseboard off and notching or drilling every stud, then using nail plates to protect the wires.

As for getting wires to the second floor, often you can find a chase that already contains plumbing or HVAC ducting and get your wires through there. Other times, you can find a spot that is out of sight and cut a hole. The back of a closet is usually the trick. If you can find a spot like this, then you can make your own chase from the basement to the attic, then work from the top down to the new locations. When you're finished, patch the hole, or better yet, cover it with a removable access so you can get to it for any future work.
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Old 10-01-2008, 03:56 PM   #5
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1939 House Wiring upgrade


ok, good. i was hoping that was the way that it needed to be done.
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