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Old 01-28-2009, 12:03 PM   #16
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Entire Rewire or New Branch Circuits?


There probably isn't a lot I can't do. For the sake of safety and making sure someone who does this all the time keeps and eye on what I'm doing I will have a qualified electrician come and mess with the box when the time is appropriate. That's the part that gets me about the piecemeal approach...because it will require someone to come several times and that will get expensive.

If, for example, I tackle an entire circuit, can I safely take out the breaker and replace it with the new circuit. That would be big for me I guess. If I can do that, I can have the panel box replaced either before or after I start to do that. Does it matter when?

My house isn't small or large. It's a cape cod and it's laid out in a way that everything is right there though. And the real reason to tackle this now is that half the upstairs is unfinished and accessible. I'd like to finish that part because we need a little more space in a couple years as my kids grow up. So I think that doing all this work would be appropriate now as I can get at a great deal of where I need to get to.

There is an old decrepid & ancient meter outside. I'll get some pics when I get home tonight and post them & I'll photograph switches and fixtures as well. I figured it was a 100A service because it's 100A panel and it's pretty full.

I rewired the garage last summer. I did what the guys at the hardware store said. The breaker is 20 amps & I wired it with 14 gage wire. The garage hasn't burned down yet but i'm going to have to change that...but more importantly i think it's the same gage wire on the run from the house & it's regular romex buried underground. Yes, it's half assed for sure. I figure I'll be running more cable out to there eventually that will include: new proper underground to feed the garage, cat5, coax & whatever I need to locate my generator behind the garage. Plus, maybe a gas line to the garage. Any idea how many trenches I have to dig for all that?

I really appreciate the help here! Don't have many tools but more than willing to go get what I need. I'll be near a Lowes tomorrow so let me know what I should tool up with because I would like to get detailed (yes, I am detail oriented and a good learner) into the diagnostics and put together a sound plan of attack for what I am going to do. And then do some financial analysis before I get started. I know I'll need some testers. I'm going to get something that will help me trace where the wires go through the walls. There are a couple spots where that will be helpful.

I do have some sensitive electronic equipment running...and I really would like to get that all protected ASAP. I could run a new circuit to it and that I suppose. That's what I was going to do...but I didn't want to go pay out the arse for some romex when i'm going to be needing a lot of it and getting a better price down the road. Do electricians get better prices on this stuff like contractors do? I would like to figure out how much romex would cover me and then have someone purchase it (I know someone) at a better price if possible.

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Old 01-28-2009, 02:26 PM   #17
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could someone also suggest a good online place to learn the theories behind electricity. Where would someone trying to enter the field start?
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Old 01-28-2009, 02:30 PM   #18
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http://www.eskimo.com/~billb/miscon/whatis.html

http://tinyurl.com/b7enm
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Old 01-28-2009, 02:35 PM   #19
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If, for example, I tackle an entire circuit, can I safely take out the breaker and replace it with the new circuit. That would be big for me I guess. If I can do that, I can have the panel box replaced either before or after I start to do that. Does it matter when?
.
It matters if you want to do it in parts and have both boxes running at the same time. The problem is that there probably wouldn't be enough slack to move the circuits over.

What you could do is leave a few loops of slack above the box. That way you can move the circuits over to the new box more easily.

It's going to be a massive learning experience if you want to rewire your entire house starting from nothing, but it can be done if you are willing to learn and do things over if you screw them up.
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Old 01-28-2009, 03:07 PM   #20
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Entire Rewire or New Branch Circuits?


Can't we just replace the box and move all the old circuits into the new box? That way it would be in the same place and I could just work from there.

I think I can actually do a lot of the wiring. It amounts to running cable and hooking up recepticles and switches right. I really don't think there is anything complicated home at all. There are a couple two way switches, one of which is totally in the wrong place. I've ran new circuits before but someone else tied them into the box. I know how to run clean cable and find my way through the rafters I think. If it weren't for the family being home and plaster on the walls I probably could go home and in a couple days wire the whole place up right now and would know when to ask the questions and what questions I needed to ask.

I am also a decent planner. So I'd spend the time planning and documenting what I was going to do and it wouldn't be difficult for people to review it and see I was conforming to code. I need another circuit in the kitchen. That's just opposite the box. Nice! With the box being centrally located and everything pretty close I think the big time commitment of pulling the wire is straight forward. No basement, just crawl space. And a huge chuck of the upstairs is unfinished which means I'm right over many of the ceilings.

I think I can do it if I'm careful, plan well, and make sure I have on site inspections by a professional. I don't want to get fried or bake my family either...that's for sure. I've never liked making the hooks around the screws. But the thing I don't like about it is i don't do it enough. So I get frustrated for a bit and then I feel more comfortable but the job is done. I love to learn and look forward to this project. Especially when you consider the $$$ that I'm going to save along the way.
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Old 01-28-2009, 03:40 PM   #21
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Can't we just replace the box and move all the old circuits into the new box? That way it would be in the same place and I could just work from there.

I think I can actually do a lot of the wiring. It amounts to running cable and hooking up recepticles and switches right. I really don't think there is anything complicated home at all.
Well the devil is in the details. It sounds like you have a good attitude though and you could probably learn what you needed to learn.

I think your next step should be buying a book. This will get you going on the basics and also give you an idea of the scope.

http://www.amazon.com/Wiring-House-P.../dp/1561585270

Some people recommend this book, but I haven't personally tried it. Be careful of the edition with the guy working on a panel on the front cover, there are some errors in it that have caused a recall.

The version with the guy installing the receptacle is ok though.
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Old 01-28-2009, 03:59 PM   #22
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That looks like a good book. I'll order it. Shouldn't get the wrong edition if I buy new and the bad ones have been recalled.
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Old 01-28-2009, 04:05 PM   #23
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Actually, aparently the 3rd edition has been recalled, the second edition is "ok". But at least here we're on NEC 2008, so the 2nd edition isn't what I need. http://www.cpsc.gov/cpscpub/prerel/prhtml09/09078.html
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Old 01-28-2009, 04:17 PM   #24
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Is there a code that specifies how high recepticles can be? Can I put one half way up a wall, for example? I think I'm going to put a circuit over to the TV wall before the electrician comes out. I think I'd like to put it right in the middle of the wall because the TV will be mounted high.
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Old 01-28-2009, 04:19 PM   #25
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the other question I have, since I'm going to run that circuit. What is the best way to go about figuring out how much ROMEX I need for the whole rewire project? What increments does it come in and how am I going to get the best price for that?
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Old 01-28-2009, 06:34 PM   #26
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I likely won't get to more pictures until saturday. Major blizzard here today for one thing...
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Old 01-28-2009, 07:21 PM   #27
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the other question I have, since I'm going to run that circuit. What is the best way to go about figuring out how much ROMEX I need for the whole rewire project? What increments does it come in and how am I going to get the best price for that?
For a whole house? Start with 1000 feet and when/if that runs out get more.

It's cheapest in 1000 foot spools.
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Old 01-28-2009, 07:24 PM   #28
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the other question I have, since I'm going to run that circuit. What is the best way to go about figuring out how much ROMEX I need for the whole rewire project? What increments does it come in and how am I going to get the best price for that?
Normally 250 or 1000. I've been using alot of 250, but it is a pain because it isn't on a spool and you spend a lot of time getting it straightened out before you can pull it. I 1000' spool and a wire caddy is much easier to deal with. It's running around $160 for the 1000' at big box stores.

Honestly what I would do in your situation is install a brand new panel that is dead in an appropriate location, hopefully somewhere very close to where the panel is now. There are requirement on where it can and can't be placed. Then I would start running brand new circuits to the new panel.

If you do it this way and leave power on to the house, it is very safe and easy to work around the new panel that has no power, and very nice to be in a house with lights on, but much more dangerous to drill and drag wires.

My parents house was a similar combination of knob and tube, MC, romex, etc. There was an acciendet that damaged a number of wires, and we made the decision to rewire the entire house. I went into the panel, and cut every single wire, everything was dead. Then I started running new wire. Now I have enough experiance, and my dad is good at bending conduit, that I was able to start getting some of the most important stuff light back up 24 hours later. 2 weeks later, about 40% of the house is hot, and the upstairs is all preped, conduit and wires are in place, and the final drops need to be made to the upstairs rooms.

It kind of sucked not having power in many area for working, and I am sure my parrents didn't like the lack of power. However, doing it this way, I know exactly what was hot and what wasn't, because only new circuits where hot, and I was the only person energizing anything. I didn't cross connect anything back into old wires or outlets that could back feed. So it was very easy to go through the house, and just rip out old boxes and wires as necessary, drill as necessary and pull the new wires.

Tools I would not attempt this type of project without:
I am using just about all Klien hand tools, they are the best I have found. Other items are various brands, I can make suggestions on anything if you want. Cheap tools are not worth using, they are a huge waste of your time. Buy the best tools available you won't regret it.

Linemans pliers
Long nose pliers
Romex strippers
Side cutters
Wire strippers
uninsulated wire crimpers
flex drill bits
a long group of fish sticks
fiberglass fishing wands
Large auger style wood boring bits, extensions
Powerful half inch drill
cordless drill gun (makita style)
small drill gun for switch boxes
sawzall
bits and tap
Makita style flashlights
Lock ring pliers
Jig saw
Keyhole saw
Flat fish tape
Fiberfish tape
Regular fish
Klien 10 in 1 screw driver
Folding pocket knife
Hammer / pry bars / sledge
A right angle drill would be extremely usefull

Additional tools necessary if your going to be doing any conduit work.

Jamie
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Old 01-28-2009, 07:26 PM   #29
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For a whole house? Start with 1000 feet and when/if that runs out get more.

It's cheapest in 1000 foot spools.
I've found the 1000's to run a bit higher (price per foot) than the 250's. But well worth it for the advantage of having it on a spool.

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Old 01-28-2009, 07:28 PM   #30
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Is there a code that specifies how high recepticles can be? Can I put one half way up a wall, for example? I think I'm going to put a circuit over to the TV wall before the electrician comes out. I think I'd like to put it right in the middle of the wall because the TV will be mounted high.
I'd be highly reluctant to suggest you connect anything new in your panel until it is cleaned up / wires replaced.

jamie

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