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Old 11-22-2010, 01:07 PM   #1
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Old Romex? Replace or leave?


I'm eventually going to be updating my electrical once i'm ready to upgrade to 200amp service. Was curious if people leave Romex, or just redo it?

Everything is accessible through either the attic, or the basement so i'm just curious if its better to upgrade to 14-2 and 12-2, or leave the romex as is?

Thoughts? Opinions?

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Old 11-22-2010, 01:19 PM   #2
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Old Romex? Replace or leave?


?

"Romex" is a brand name, and most often refers to NM-B, which is still widely manufactured and in VERY common use. It comes in many flavors, INCLUDING 12-2 and 14-2...

So your question really means nothing. You're asking if you should replace your existing wire with... new, identical wire.



I'm assuming you're misusing a term somewhere, so please clarify.

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Old 11-22-2010, 01:20 PM   #3
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Old Romex? Replace or leave?


Romax can mean a lot of different wire. Does your current wiring have a plastic jacket or braided? Any idea of the age?
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Old 11-22-2010, 01:23 PM   #4
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Old Romex? Replace or leave?


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Originally Posted by a7ecorsair View Post
Romax can mean a lot of different wire. Does your current wiring have a plastic jacket or braided? Any idea of the age?
After posting I realized there wasn't enough data, sorry.

The wiring is shielded metal with the wiring inside in most of the house (Is this what you call BX Romex?). I've also found some cloth covered wiring which may be even older? I would guess the wiring is definitely very old, at least 40 to 50 years, if not more.

The wiring in the metal (BX?) seems to be in good shape, but I want to add a few outlets and move some stuff around slightly.

Everything is accessible from an open attic to the 2nd floor, and everything from the basement to the 1st floor so I figure it might be a good idea to just update most of the electrical that is older.

Seems like the BX wiring in the metal shield is durable, but I'm not sure if it is ideal to keep around if its been there for 50+ years.

Any opinions appreciated.
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Old 11-22-2010, 01:33 PM   #5
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Old Romex? Replace or leave?


It may be BX.

BX is not what we typically call Romex.



BX is a pain in the butt to work with, and lacks a ground wire (using the metal spiral part for ground is NOT a perfect idea...), so yes, I would replace it if you are financially able to do so.
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Old 11-22-2010, 01:39 PM   #6
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Old Romex? Replace or leave?


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It may be BX.

BX is not what we typically call Romex.

BX is a pain in the butt to work with, and lacks a ground wire (using the metal spiral part for ground is NOT a perfect idea...), so yes, I would replace it if you are financially able to do so.
Thanks for clarifying. So, I guess it is BX, i'll refer to it as that from now on. Yes, I understand the actual shield and boxes are what are used as the ground.

Anyone recommend updating the wiring to 12-2 (20 amp) for typical outlets and recessed lighting, or is 14-2 (15 amp) just fine? Plan to run some tv's and computers in the bedrooms so I'm going to be planning to have certain outlets and lighting on different lines.
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Old 11-22-2010, 02:27 PM   #7
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Old Romex? Replace or leave?


you have bx wire right now. newer bx has a ground wire as well if im not mistaken but in your case it most certaintly does not. romex is the wire with the plastic sheathing on it.also known as non metallic sheathing wire. 12 wire is white and 14 wire is yellow.i just replaced a ton of that stuff in my house recently and would reccomend you do the same. lighting circuits are usually 14-2 romex and you can run quite a few lights on each 15 amp circuit. outlets are usually 12-2 and i think 8 outlets is the max per 20 amp circuit. if you have air conditioners they should be on dedicated 20 amp circuits same as any aplliances you have already. why do you want a 200 amp service for ? my house has that and its huge ! i ran 40 some odd feeds and its absolutely overkill but i ran it myself so it was cheap so why not. but if your house is of a regular size and you dont have a welding shop or killer saw room it might not be neccesary. do you have an electric stove and clothes dryer ?
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Old 11-22-2010, 02:37 PM   #8
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Old Romex? Replace or leave?


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you have bx wire right now. newer bx has a ground wire as well if im not mistaken but in your case it most certaintly does not. romex is the wire with the plastic sheathing on it.also known as non metallic sheathing wire. 12 wire is white and 14 wire is yellow.i just replaced a ton of that stuff in my house recently and would reccomend you do the same. lighting circuits are usually 14-2 romex and you can run quite a few lights on each 15 amp circuit. outlets are usually 12-2 and i think 8 outlets is the max per 20 amp circuit. if you have air conditioners they should be on dedicated 20 amp circuits same as any aplliances you have already. why do you want a 200 amp service for ? my house has that and its huge ! i ran 40 some odd feeds and its absolutely overkill but i ran it myself so it was cheap so why not. but if your house is of a regular size and you dont have a welding shop or killer saw room it might not be neccesary. do you have an electric stove and clothes dryer ?
Thanks for the tips so far. I'm doing research how many lights/outlets per circuit and such.

Seems like most new houses have 200amp if you are running things a typical family does these days like Central Air, TV's, Computers, kitchen appliances and counter top appliances, etc. I do have electric stove but may go gas when I update the appliances.

Sounds like most people are saying if the BX can be eliminated then remove it.

Last edited by HandyFrank; 11-22-2010 at 02:39 PM.
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Old 11-22-2010, 02:50 PM   #9
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Old Romex? Replace or leave?


Almost, except he got the jacket colors backwards. 14 is white, 12 is yellow. (10 is orange if you care)... except I've still got tons of it manufactured before they started using the colors, and it's all white.
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Old 11-22-2010, 02:51 PM   #10
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Old Romex? Replace or leave?


while we're on the subject...

the numbers (12/2, 14/2, 10/2, 14/3, etc.) only define the size and quantity of the individual conductors, not the type of wire. So your BX probably IS 14/2...

My habit is to use 14/2 for circuits that power only fixed lighting and 12/2 for general-use receptacles. Dedicated circuits for appliances get whatever is appropriate for that appliance.
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Old 11-22-2010, 02:53 PM   #11
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Old Romex? Replace or leave?


i would get somebody over there that you trust and ask him if he thinks if its neccesary. if your utility company has to run a larger wire from the pole (wich i dont know if they have to but is a good question) i would imagine it would be pricey. it may be cheaper to update to a newer 100 amp panel with more slots and spend the cash updating the wire. thats gonna be a project my man !
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Old 11-22-2010, 02:56 PM   #12
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Old Romex? Replace or leave?


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Originally Posted by emolatur View Post
Almost, except he got the jacket colors backwards. 14 is white, 12 is yellow. (10 is orange if you care)... except I've still got tons of it manufactured before they started using the colors, and it's all white.
Dammit i always get those mixed up !
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Old 11-22-2010, 03:04 PM   #13
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Old Romex? Replace or leave?


Thanks for the additional info guys, and for clarifying the colors. I've done 14-2 and 14-3 updating already so I knew the coloring, and I've helped with 12-2 updating, but for someone coming in reading this its helpful for the clarification.

I'll leave it up to a pro to determine if a 200 amp service is required or if the 100-amp panels can cut it. Seems like everyone updates to 200amp though, so i'll probably go that route if recommended.
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Old 11-22-2010, 03:49 PM   #14
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Old Romex? Replace or leave?


If you need a 200a also depends upon a whole house load calc
My whole house calc comes in at 144a
So a 200a was min service, luckily someone upgraded it to 200a a while ago
One 50a hot tub can push the load calc to a 200a feed
What kind of breaker panel do you have ?

USA does not have a limit on how many outlets you can have on a circuit
...as long as there aren't heavy loads - fixed in place appliances etc
Canada does

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