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Old 06-25-2011, 07:11 PM   #1
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newby question regarding re-wiring house...

hey, sorry if this is a naive or unanswerable question. i have always rented until now and have never done any house maintenance or remodeling before, and know little or nothing about renovation, etc.

my wife and i are looking at purchasing a brick ranch house (built 1960) in the intown atlanta area. 4 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms, 2112 sq ft, full basement, 4-side brick.

any ballpark idea of what it would take to re-wire entire house?



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Old 06-25-2011, 07:19 PM   #2
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Why do you need to...?


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Old 06-25-2011, 07:27 PM   #3
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Good luck with your purchase. Unfortunately it's nearly impossible to estimate what a re-wire would cost. It depends on several factors such as circuit availability and type of wiring. If the house is wired with cable, the re-wire could cost a great deal since some walls may have to be opened to facilitate the re-wire. In another instance, if conduit is used throughout the costs could be less, depending on how accessible the boxes and junction boxes are. You need someone to come to the site to give you an estimate after seeing the situation. And even if we knew all the details, material costs vary throughout the country as do labor costs. I wish you the best.
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Old 06-25-2011, 07:35 PM   #4
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Will all the walls be open or will the cables need to be fished? Many factors will change the price including above code wiring that may be desired.
Answers based on the National Electrical Code. Local amendments may apply. Check with your local building officials.
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Old 06-25-2011, 07:38 PM   #5
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Unless the inspector comes back showing serious code deficiencies, or panel is one of those that is known bad, I would not worry. only wiring I could think that you may need to do, is network, catv, telephone, and maybe a/v. If no security system, that would be the first thing, but only go with a reputable local company, not a fly-by night.

The big areas that I would be concerned is, roof, hvac, doors & windows, if they are showing bad signs of wear & tear. Also, keep in mind a home purchase is a big deal. If you do not have money put aside to buy appliances if you need (ie washer, dryer, stove if not included, same with fridge), and a back up generator if you want to keep food cold, and furnace running, and some money for possible home repairs, those are big areas that people forget about when first time buying, and then do not have money put aside as an emergency fund when stuff breaks, or worst case, storm comes along and causes damage to the home, that needs fixed immediately, not later.

Last edited by gregzoll; 06-25-2011 at 07:42 PM.
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Old 06-25-2011, 08:41 PM   #6
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I think it's a smart move to rewire the house. I'd suggest you get at least 3 quotes.

I just bought a 1959 ranch. The panel was upgraded in 1994. The wiring in the walls, a disaster. Home inspectors don't open walls. If they don't see it, they don't report it.

I've found splices just taped. Nothing is clamped. 3 wires under the screw on an outlet. Hot/Neutral's reversed, buried junction boxes, and damaged cables. Yeah, I'm gutting it and rewiring. Almost the entire house is on 3 breakers.

Fix it and you'll have no worries. Don't forget to include hard wired smoke/co's.
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Old 06-26-2011, 01:34 AM   #7
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Have you had a home inspection done yet?

If not, I have three pieces of advice.

1) Choose the inspector yourself. Letting your Realtor choose the inspector is a bit like letting your 17-year-old choose their own chaperone. You may not be looking for the same things. Your Realtor has a financial interest in making sure the sale goes through with as few hiccups as possible. OTOH, you more than likely want the pickiest one you can find.

2) Ask about their experience. Look for one with a strong background in the building trades, who grew up swinging a hammer. Not the fellow who recently made a career change and just completed one of those courses advertised on late night TV. Finding one you can talk to and won't make you feel like an idiot for asking stupid questions is a plus.

3) Very, very important - BE THERE FOR THE INSPECTION and ASK STUPID QUESTIONS. Lots of them. What is this for? What does that do? Why is this important. Can this wait or does it need to be fixed right away. Think of it as a crash course on home owning. You're paying this guy (gal) for their expertise. Take full advantage of it! My biggest regret on buying our house was not being there for the inspection as we moved out of state.

I noticed you also had a similar plumbing question. If you find someone knowledgeable to walk the home with you, they should be better able to answer all your questions than anyone on an internet chatroom.

Last edited by Blondesense; 06-26-2011 at 01:36 AM.
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Old 06-26-2011, 08:50 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by dakotajoe View Post
hey, sorry if this is a naive or unanswerable question. i have always rented until now and have never done any house maintenance or remodeling before, and know little or nothing about renovation, etc.

my wife and i are looking at purchasing a brick ranch house (built 1960) in the intown atlanta area. 4 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms, 2112 sq ft, full basement, 4-side brick.

any ballpark idea of what it would take to re-wire entire house?

Welcome to the forum!
What part of the Atlanta area?
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Old 06-27-2011, 03:21 PM   #9
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thanks for the helpful feedback. i really appreciate it. it's a lot to process.

@jbfan: intown area, north of dekalb ave, mostly in the druid hills, sagamore hills, toco hills, emory, oak grove area.
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Old 06-27-2011, 10:04 PM   #10
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I'll answer the question based on my own project which I have been doing as DIY so you can get some perspective. My project is not complete nor do I have an accurate tabulation of my electrical project, but since you're looking for an idea of what to expect perhaps this will provide some guidance.

First, the scope of my overall project up to the point I'm at so far. I bought a 1.5 story house in the northern suburbs of Detroit last year, few homes in this city sell under $100,000, even fewer under $50,000 and empty lots seem to price around $30,000. I bought my house for $25,000. It includes a detatched 2 car garage and was originally built in 1917. It does not include a foundation, it was built on a dirt crawlspace and is supported by columns of cement blocks and most of those sit on dirt.

Overall I've probably spent $15,000 to $20,000 so far. I have replaced the roofing, insulated upstairs, removed lath & plaster and drywalled upstairs, removed all wiring upstairs, rewired the upstairs bedrooms, rewired the kitchen, installed a new 200 amp service and a 100 amp subpanel in the garage with the feeder underground through rigid conduit,.

By itself, my most recent electrical project has been upgrading to 200 amp service and installing the 100 amp subpanel in the garage. This project started at $1000 in materials at my initial tabulation, I estimate that at this point I've spent $1500 to $2000 on this project. For the most part, you could consider this project to be the foundation of the electrical system - very little actual receptacles are involved.

Bear in mind that none of this includes labor. Going to the lengths I have gone with DIY is probably not advisable for a first project. I've read a service upgrade by itself can ball-park at $2500.

The age of my house and its condition were major factors in my decision to take on the rewiring project, and these are conditions that may not be as bad on a house built in 1960. For my house, I had to wonder how it is that the house had not burnt to the ground. (structural issues aside - structurally I partially wondered how the house had not collapsed, although from the work it looked as if maybe it nearly had at several points in time... but that's another story)

You'll also have to bear in mind that newer electrical codes will need to be followed and this will drive necessary updates that come with costs. For example, the use of arc-fault circuit interupter circuit breakers will be required for most everything in the house aside from where ground fault circuit interupters are required. AFCI breakers cost $35 while regular breakers are $5. GFCI is provided by GFCI receptacles at $18 compared with $1 and under for a basic receptacle (and can also be provided by GFCI breakers instead, which cost more - $42 I think)

I find all the updates to be something I desire, but it's frankly hard to justify financially... Insurance doesn't seem to care about the state of the electrical system. And if you think it affects your houses value, ask yourself how much you've considered a house's electrical in choosing a house to buy? People look at number of rooms, size, condition and aesthetics.


Please do NOT consider any "before" picture of my house as any kind of endorsement of any particular construction method. In fact, you should probably assume that if I post a "before" picture, I am posting it because I am soliciting advice on a proper replacement for one of MANY things done wrong by a previous owner.
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