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HOW TO = replacing old wiring

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  • HOW TO = replacing old wiring

    I have googled and NOT found an answer to this matter. I watch Ask This Old House and tons of other DIY shows and have NEVER seen a show on "replacing or rewiring an old house" - by that I mean a WHOLE house rewiring.

    I live in a 60 year old slab house built in 1951. Wiring is Romex 2 wire with NO ground. I would like to tackle or know what is involved. Years ago a garage was added on and a new Square D panel installed but NO changes were made to the existing 1951 house wiring. My friend and I did it and PSEG approved it and so did the local inspector.

    When doing new construction, any dummie can run wires PARALLEL to the floor and drill holes thru the existing 2X4 wall studs to run wires. Of course the wiring needs to be STAPLED within or foot or so of the switch or outlet box.

    When an electrician rewires the house, common sense seems to dictate that he would have to cut the nails holding the OLD box to the stud behind the sheetrock and remove it or punch it into the wall behind the sheetrock. The NEW wire would have to be fed thru the top plate ( NO attic in my house ) down to the switch box and then BACK UP thru the wall to the next outlet or switch on the circuit.

    This means a LOT OF LOOPS and LOTS of $$$ wire as one daisy chains the items on the circuit. However the trade off is NOT ripping out all the sheetrock to run wires as in new construction since that would be impossible with sheetrock on the walls.

    I don't see any other way of doing it.

    As I said, I have NOT found any site or books on the subject or TV programs that show HOW to fully rewire an old house. I have MANY DIY books over the past 30 years and NOT ONE of them shows the how to or any tricks involved. It is mainly NEW construction.

    Any help appreciated.

    Thanks.

  • #2
    Re: HOW TO = replacing old wiring

    The way we've always done a re-wire, which is not fun, but cheaper on our costs to the homeowner was to (mainly with BX) remove it from the floor below - most 1st floors were fed from the basement, up to the plug, then back down to the basement and up to the next plug, unlike new construction where it's usually drilled in the studs on that floor instead of going up and down from basement to 1st floor. Usually we'd just pull the BX down and get the new wire to the box, or try to destroy the box and push it to the side, and install a new oldwork box with the new wires coming up from the basement. As for light switches/lights we would usually haveto end up snaking a new wire from the basment to the switch box, then cut a hole in the sheetrock/plaster by the top plate (On the wall, and ceiling) to get it up to the ceiling, then notch over to the light location. 2nd floor usually done the same, with a attic (Almost every house around here has an attic..) Sure there's holes to patch, but that's easier then having to remove the whole wall. However with most of these homes, the people who want the wiring changed have THE worst plaster walls that are buckling and if touched start to crumble, so it's inevitable that there will be more patching. Personally on the trade end if you're gonna rewire your house, do it in stages and do the WHOLE room over, why stop at just the wiring??? Rip the bad walls down, get an electrician in there and re-wire the room up to code and then insulate the walls and sheetrock them, gives a better look with more energy savings!!!! And unless your house is in chicago where it's all piped in the walls and easy (i would assume) to repull new wires and redo the house whenever, it's gonna be messy, time consuming and expensive! Alternatively you could just disconnect the wires from the panel, run new wires to 'new' locations for outlets and snake up to those locations, and just plaster over all the old wires/boxes and never use them, still gonna be patching from the switches to lights no matter what. Not an easy task any way you look at it.

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    • #3
      Re: HOW TO = replacing old wiring

      there is a book out there that has been updated on every electrical code up date,
      called "Practical Electrical Wiring ".
      by Herbert P. Richter

      there is simplified version call "Wiring Simplified"

      I recommend larger version, by the first name, "Practical Electrical Wiring ". there is a chapter on wiring an existing building, or at least there is on the older editions of the book I do not have a copy of the one based on the 2008 code,


      in the 2005 based version it is called modernizing old work, show the basics of pulling in new lines and some of the how tos , I went and got my 1941 version of the same book and checked out the old work section and it has just a touch more information on drilling or pulling in wires, I like both books the thin one and the full version as one more gives the over view and the larger more in depth of how to and meet code. I would suggest the new version, but if your just interested in the how to pull in new lines go to ebay and you can get a 2005 or 2003 version for next to nothing, you will need to meet the code of that is in effect for your state, as any time you up date it has to meet the new code, so you will need some guide to do this correctly, and many times to get the inspection one will need a "rough in" inspection and then normally a final inspection.
      Push sticks/blocks Save Fingers
      ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
      "The true measure of a man is how he treats someone who can do him absolutely no good."
      attributed to Samuel Johnson
      ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
      PUBLIC NOTICE: Due to recent budget cuts, the rising cost of electricity, gas, and oil...plus the current state of the economy............the light at the end of the tunnel, has been turned off.

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      • #4
        Re: HOW TO = replacing old wiring

        I think the Time-Life book on Old Houses had something on re-wiring. Could be the electrical or advanced electrical book too.

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        • #5
          Re: HOW TO = replacing old wiring

          fiberglass fish-sticks will be your best friend!

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          • #6
            Re: HOW TO = replacing old wiring

            My first house had one or two outlets in each room and zip wire(externally run wire) in several rooms. It was dusty but I used a combination of hammers and circular saw blades to channel through the sheetrock and drill through my studs. I then ran romex with a ground and several outlets in each room. While the walls were opened I also ran coax for the tv's and telephone wires. Really cleaned wires off the floors and gave me more safe grounded outlets. Old wire was aluminum.

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            • #7
              Re: HOW TO = replacing old wiring

              Check out the D'versibit- it's a lifesaver in these types of situations.

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              • #8
                Re: HOW TO = replacing old wiring

                Originally posted by BHD View Post
                there is a book out there that has been updated on every electrical code up date,
                called "Practical Electrical Wiring ".
                by Herbert P. Richter
                I got the 2005 edition from my library, and finished it last week. It is a thick book (and I have been very busy with work); so it took me about 6 weeks to finish, but it is very detailed and approachable. There is a lot of stuff that won't be applicable to residential; but that is easy to skip and I found the 3-phase and higher voltage stuff interesting.

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                • #9
                  Re: HOW TO = replacing old wiring

                  Originally posted by bubbajames View Post
                  Check out the D'versibit- it's a lifesaver in these types of situations.
                  http://www.greenlee.com/cat_docs/Hol...g08_lowrez.pdf
                  "When we build let us think we build forever. Let it not be for present delight nor for present use alone. Let it be such work that our descendants will thank us for, and let us think, as we lay stone upon stone, that a time is to come when these stones will be held sacred because our hands have touched them, and that men will say, as they look upon the labor and wrought substance of them, "See! This our fathers did for us."
                  John Ruskin (1819 - 1900)

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