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Old 11-10-2011, 10:04 PM   #16
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I almost hit the "thanks" button.

Those pictures are not the worst of it... I'll get some better ones when I go up to map things.

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Old 11-11-2011, 12:08 AM   #17
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i didn't mean the wiring so much as spending time up there. Doesn't look fun
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Old 11-11-2011, 07:23 PM   #18
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So, is it a bad thing when you call an electrician to quote the job and while you are describing it, they say "Wow, that's going to be expensive"?




He's coming in the morning, but I'm not optimistic.
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Old 11-12-2011, 01:04 AM   #19
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probably just preparing you and being realistic. Tracing wires and fishing down walls and troubleshooting can get expensive quickly. Someone recently told me a story about how they called a plumber and the plumber didn't know how to fix the pipe so he fiddled with it for like 6 hours and accomplished basically nothing. He didn't pay the bill because the plumber should have known what he was doing. I completely agree, but this doesn't apply to searching for an electrical problem. A loose connection can sometimes take a good part of a day to find. Not saying that's what you have, but troubleshooting can get expensive.
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Old 11-12-2011, 07:11 AM   #20
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If the house originally had gas lights, then more than likely the wiring was run right though the gas piping. At least it was in my mom's house that was built around the turn of the century.
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Old 11-12-2011, 08:16 AM   #21
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Yes, there were originally gas lights.
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Old 11-12-2011, 09:57 AM   #22
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Ok, so more discoveries...

There are two panels in my house - the main in the basement that is divided into four sections -

section 1 - two 30 amp breakers that have nothing running to them
section 2 - two 40 amp breakers that run to the second floor panel
section 3 - two 60 amp breakers that power section 4
section 4 - 15 and 20 amp breakers

So, I shut off the upstairs panel (five 15 amp breakers) in theory that would shut off the upstairs power. No.

The upstairs panel runs: all overhead lights on the second floor, all overhead lights on the first floor, all overhead lights in the basement, four outlets on the first floor (including the refrigerator.)

Um... yeah...

Re-running the outlets won't be a big deal, I just have to fish the wire through to the basement, and in should be able to use the existing wire (assuming it's romex) but tie it in to the basement panel.

But I'm worried about the lights. I had thought that I would just start over with the new wire removing the KaT completely but that may not be possible.

I wanted to be pulling wires by now, but instead I'm mapping circuits. ARGH!
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Old 11-12-2011, 03:05 PM   #23
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Maybe after the kids go to sleep I'll take some time to tell ya about my house, if something worse would make you feel better. Some of it you can find from my blogs and my posting history.

I gotta get some pics of the 4" thick tree roots I'm cutting out of the dirt so I can dig for footers to support the house. The house is on concrete blocks, some of which are really chimney tubes or something. That's the project of the moment.

But my electrical was way worse than yours, and right after the PoCo connected my new service entrance a tree fell on it. We did not loose power.
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Old 11-12-2011, 04:37 PM   #24
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Oh, I'm always up for "mine's worse than yours" stories. They actually DO make me feel better!
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Old 11-12-2011, 04:38 PM   #25
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You may not need to map out the out if you just install new around it. Once the new is installed and working you would just remove the old.
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Old 11-12-2011, 04:45 PM   #26
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Consult an electrician. Do not attempt to do this on your own. Knob and tube systems are EXTREMEMLY dangerous! Electricians have specialized tools that they can use to drill through the fire breaks in the walls, and can do it without hurting your existing drywall.
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Old 11-12-2011, 06:10 PM   #27
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Toofarfromfenwa View Post
Consult an electrician. Do not attempt to do this on your own. Knob and tube systems are EXTREMEMLY dangerous! Electricians have specialized tools that they can use to drill through the fire breaks in the walls, and can do it without hurting your existing drywall.
Wouldn't really call it "specialized tools" a 4' drill bit isn't that special. Can probably be bought at any box store. The skill set to actually get it fished on the other hand can't be bought
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Old 11-12-2011, 06:40 PM   #28
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Well, I spent three and a half hours with an electrician today. We went through the entire house top to bottom.

Second floor breaker box (two 40 amp circuits) runs all overhead lights in the entire house, including the basement. It also runs the refrigerator, all of the outlets on the second floor and a couple on the first floor.

Basement breakers (two 60 amp) run the furnace, the washer and drier, and the rest of the outlets in the house.

The real work involved here is time and figuring out what to attach where to balance loads. Obviously, the refrigerator needs its own circuit, I already wired the furnace to its own right after we bought the house. All of the first floor outlets need to go to the basement, as do the basement lights.

I appreciate the input, but knob and tube isn't dangerous, when you shut the power off it's just a lot of copper in the walls. ;-) The only KaT I'm leaving is what runs the overhead lights on the first floor, I'm not willing to rip out walls or even poke unnecessary holes in them to fix something that is working fine, nine overhead lights will be on KaT, probably on their own circuit, but maybe sharing with the attic or something with other low draw.

I only have drywall in one room in the house, the laundry room, which I gutted and rewired. And as the previous poster said, four foot drill bits are not all that special - not that they are all that useful in plaster walls. We find the fire breaks, drill above and below, put a hole through the board, run the wire, plug the hole, patch the wall. Obnoxious and time consuming, but easier to patch than the first one we did (cut a four by six inch hole, hacked a notch in the fire break, then put a big patch up... And my plaster skills are rather lacking, so there is a bookcase there now )
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Old 11-12-2011, 08:23 PM   #29
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The skill set to actually get it fished on the other hand can't be bought
The patience, the ability to reason through all of the balancing and re-mapping, the patience to run wire through plaster and lathe walls, the patience to chase down ghosts, the patience to run wire between plaster and brick, the patience.... and oh, did I mention the patience of a saint? (Which I don't have...)

He offered me an hourly rate that was quite reasonable, and said that if I wanted to help the work would go faster and he'd be able to teach me along the way (my benefit) have an extra set of hands to get it done (his benefit in frustration, my benefit in expense.)

So we mapped all of the lights and outlets to their respective circuits tonight. And I'm currently working on where all of their new circuits are going to be. I'm going to get some headway on that tonight, and tomorrow we're going to start pulling wires to see how it will go. We know there are firebreaks in the interior walls, but I don't believe there are any in the exterior walls so the walls present very different challenges.

Exterior walls only have two inches of clearance between the lathe and brick, but that is made smaller by the plaster coming through. Interior walls have a much larger space, even accounting for lathe on both sides, but they have firebreaks that appear to be at staggered heights. ARGH!

We're just going to work on pulling wires on new outlets. Since all of the outlets are moving, I can leave the romex sticking out in the attic and in the rooms until my circuit mapping is reviewed and ok'd by someone who knows what they are doing. To meet code in the bedrooms, we have to pull 24 wires, so I'm quite sure that we'll be busy for a while!! If by some miracle of God we get that done in the next few weeks, we can move to upstairs overhead lights, which are staying on the same circuit, but will all be new wires.

When all of that is done, hopefully he'll be done with the work he's on now, and can come and go over my circuit mapping and we'll start hooking things up.

On the bright side, I got some new tools today , including an infrared laser thermometer. My excuse for that was to find studs by temperature difference in the walls - which isn't working the way it did with the professional one that they used at my Energy Star audit. I don't think this one is sensitive enough, but I did find out that my thermostats are ten degrees off. The wall was 50, the thermostat itself was 50, the batteries in the thermostat were 50, the thermostat said 60. I turned it up to 65, and now everything is reading about 60... upstairs it was set to 55, and just about everything was in the upper 40's. I don't mind it cool, but that's just ridiculous!!!
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Old 11-12-2011, 09:37 PM   #30
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Quote:
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You may not need to map out the out if you just install new around it. Once the new is installed and working you would just remove the old.
Well, I can't change the overhead lights for the first floor - they have to stay together, and they have to go to the second floor. I can, however, put the outlets and plugs on the second floor to any of the other remaining four circuits.

And it just dawned on me that I already have service from the basement running to the second floor, so I can easily tie second floor power down to the basement if I want to do that, but honestly I don't think I need to considering what that panel has already been doing. (Like running my refrigerator, which just blows my mind!)

I have most of it on a spreadsheet right now, but it's making my brain hurt. Tomorrow I'm going to write a program and see if it will balance the loads for me - or at least calculate them on the fly so I can keep them even.

Sorry for the eight million posts... but writing it all out seems to get it straight in my head. And I'm always open to suggestions and input.

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