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Old 01-29-2011, 06:15 PM   #1
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Are you sitting down? What to do with this mess


I'm going to preface this by saying I didn't do any of this!

So a few weeks back I decided to demolish our "sheetrock bathroom". It was moldy, gross and needed to be dealt with sooner than later. We just bought our house and had no idea about what lurked beneath.

I ripped off the wall that had the light switch; this is what I found:



Whoa! Okay, okay no need to panic. So what if someone wrote, "HELP" on that piece of wood. I got this...just need to clean it up right?


WRONG





I found this hidden gem when I demolished the ceiling. Not only are the wires badly frayed but the junction box is hidden, and there was an exhaust fan up there in that mess.

There is also a vanity light and it's not any better trust me.

All the wiring is 14/2. I'm sure that would be okay (well maybe not) if the circuit breaker had the correct amperage...yeah right it's on a 20 amp breaker along with fifteen other items. I moved as many items as I could to circuits that weren't so loaded but it was difficult. I feel like it's a fire waiting to happen. If the bathroom was wired with 14/2 I'm willing to bet my knuckles the rest of the house is too.

I called the electrician and he quoted me close to 1500.00 just to address the problems that I knew of at the time. At the time I didn't know about the wiring and I certainly didn't know about the surprise in the panel. Oh, and there is two hots squeezed in where there is only supposed to one.

I feel like I'm flying by the seat of my pants here and we just bought this house so funds are a little tight. I will get my own permit and do the work myself but I'm a little uneasy. So I'm stuck. Do I wait this out to save money for the electrician to do it or is this within the scope of something I can do myself considering the (potentially dangerous) situation. I have really been studying this; I just didn't find this out yesterday and decided to fix it today. I have a pretty good understanding of basic wiring and I'm confident I understand it.

So, what should I do?

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Old 01-29-2011, 06:30 PM   #2
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Are you sitting down? What to do with this mess


Only you (and perhaps your Priest, Shaman, Rabbi, or whoever) know if you are capable of handling a complete rewiring project. I essentially rewired my entire house, but it took several years of picking away at one circuit at a time. And I have a lot of tools and many years of experience. If you have the time, the tools, and the skills, why not go for it, home wiring is not rocket science, you likely will replace all the circuits, probably the panel, so the most difficult part is running the wire through the walls, but if you open them all up even that is not difficult, merely time consuming.

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Old 01-30-2011, 01:59 AM   #3
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Are you sitting down? What to do with this mess


Your right the first step is getting a permit. For as much trouble as it is it can be a great tool. When you go to get your permit talk to city hall and they (the inspectors) will be glad to help you get it done right and check it for your confidence, also they know the local codes better that we do. most people see the inspectors as a pain in the neck, but if you don't cop an attitude with them you will find most willing partners.
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Old 01-31-2011, 01:14 PM   #4
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Are you sitting down? What to do with this mess


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Originally Posted by Daniel Holzman View Post
Only you (and perhaps your Priest, Shaman, Rabbi, or whoever) know if you are capable of handling a complete rewiring project. I essentially rewired my entire house, but it took several years of picking away at one circuit at a time. And I have a lot of tools and many years of experience. If you have the time, the tools, and the skills, why not go for it, home wiring is not rocket science, you likely will replace all the circuits, probably the panel, so the most difficult part is running the wire through the walls, but if you open them all up even that is not difficult, merely time consuming.
What he said. If your house is one story and you have attic and basement access, it is much easier. Read some books and start with some small projects first. Just like any other type of home repair/project. Installing GFCIs, or junction boxes, replacing frayed wires or outlets that don't hold plugs - those are usually small projects.

Maybe an electrician could install some AFCIs or otherwise test for arcing. AFCIs detect faults that could lead to fires. These will give you peace of mind. The downside is you may discover that some circuits immediately need replaced, causing extra expense.

If you are going to replace the panel, hire an electrician to do that first. Then you can gradually rewire circuits as needed.

And get permits - good to hear you are doing that!

My two cents, RST
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Old 01-31-2011, 01:52 PM   #5
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Are you sitting down? What to do with this mess


Thanks for advice! The electrician is on his way over now. I just want him to give our electrical system a once over before I start doing anything. I don't feel comfortable messing around with wires when I don't know their history. My house was built in 1920 and although it has a lot of character it also has a lot of hacked up stuff. I finally got my husband to listen to me and to cough up the 100 bucks lol

Why wouldn't people want to get permits? What if I want to sell my house? What if I do the job completely wrong I think it's the responsible thing to do because not only would I put myself and my family in danger but my neighbors as well. Yeah, they may nick pick and stuff but I'd rather be proactive than reactive.
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Old 01-31-2011, 02:20 PM   #6
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Are you sitting down? What to do with this mess


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Originally Posted by fortunecookies View Post
Why wouldn't people want to get permits? What if I want to sell my house? What if I do the job completely wrong I think it's the responsible thing to do because not only would I put myself and my family in danger but my neighbors as well. Yeah, they may nick pick and stuff but I'd rather be proactive than reactive.

I completely agree with you. But here are some reasons.
1. Permits cost money. (money well spent in my opinion)
2. Fear that taxes will go up.
3. Distrust of government.
4. "I own the house, I can do what I want to it" mentality.
5. No permit required (some rural jurisdictions).
6. Homeowner is prohibited from doing the work (can only be done by a licensed contractor).

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Old 01-31-2011, 02:56 PM   #7
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Are you sitting down? What to do with this mess


Where I live the homeowner can do their own repairs but a permit is needed. My husband is afraid of our taxes going up because of the updating but we're kinda stuck! I have a friend that did all of their own work without permits. They were good for a few years until the town did a tax assessment; their taxes went from 6500 to over 10,000 bucks! At least if you have a permit you can pace yourself so you don't get in over your head in regard to taxes.

NJ sucks when it comes to taxes

I would hate to live in an area where you can't do anything; not even change a light switch! C'mon that's not right. I can see the point but it's overkill IMO

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