Rewiring a house

Discussion in 'Electrical Forum discussion & Blog' started by doughboy63, Aug 1, 2008.

  1. doughboy63

    doughboy63 New Member

    Jun 7, 2006
    Hello all,
    Just moved into a new house in Dec '07. Built in 1928 2.5 story with a full basement. Most of the house is non grounded K&T. I know if left alone it is ok, but previous owners have made a mess of it in the basement and it makes me nervous. I plan to finish the basement and would like to rewire the entire house before doing so. I plan to get some bids from electricians for the work. I also want to considered doing to rewire myself. I have good acess by way of the basement and attic and know I can handle the physicall pulling of wires and such. What I am not sure of is calculating load and determining circuits and the like. I would like to know if anyone could reccommend some books to read, to educate myself how to determine the circuits designs/loads etc. Obviously I would need to review the NEC and local codes before beggining. I am pretty confident with my DIY skills. I just want to make sure I understand everything involved before I make the decision to contract it out or do it myself. Thanks in advance.
  2. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Sep 2, 2004
    Retired Systems engineer for defense industry.
    New England
    Today's lifestyle uses a lot more electrical gadets than when your house was wired. The latest codes added requirements for AFCI and GFCI circuits, but as you must get the latest info from your area as they may not have adopted the latest codes. You'll probably be adding a lot of outlets, especially in the kitchen, and probably upgrading your service which may require a new run from the power lines. There's a lot to this, and many opportunities to mess up. You'll probably want to install wired (with battery backup) smoke detectors while you are at it along with possibly CO detectors. Whole house surge suppression isn't a bad idea - electronics are in nearly everything you plug in, but point of use suppression is also desireable, too for the expensive items. Depending on how good access you have to the attic and a chase to get there, fishing wires in an old house can be quite challenging along with fixing the holes in the walls and ceiling when you can't fish around a corner. Hopefully, they aren't textured walls and ceilings! This is a major endeavor.
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  4. Billy_Bob

    Billy_Bob In the Trades

    Apr 2, 2008
    Rewiring your house may require you to install arc fault breakers in certain areas, GFI breakers in others, upgrade your main electrical service to code, and install interconnected smoke detectors all over the place!

    Some kitchens can have 10 different circuits for this and that. Certain things require their own circuits such as a microwave, refrigerator, etc.

    All of this is a local electrical inspector thing. Most areas use the NEC, but many areas have their own local modifications for this and that. So really the only one who can tell you what will be required if you re-wire the entire house is your local electrical inspector. They usually have office hours where you can go and ask questions.


    Read the NEC for *this* year. There are some new requirements.

    You can get a handy dandy booklet called "codecheck" which helps with things like where you can drill holes in studs, how many holes, how big, etc.

    I would suggest getting a 40 slot main panel (It is not much more expensive to get a panel with more slots), 200 amp. Then because so many circuits are needed for a kitchen, might be a good idea to install a subpanel for that area.

    20 amp outlets everywhere will assure you that you can plug in that vacuum, space heater, or rug cleaner anywhere and not worry about breakers tripping.

    "Commercial grade" outlets and switches are higher quality than the cheap 50 cent outlets/switches. They last longer.
  5. Billy_Bob

    Billy_Bob In the Trades

    Apr 2, 2008
    P.S. Before getting a copy of the NEC or reading it, ask your local electrical inspection office if they have their own code, just modifications to the NEC, and where you can read or buy this. Many libraries have building codes. Be sure it is the latest copy though.
  6. Bill Arden

    Bill Arden Computer Programmer

    Sep 30, 2006
    computer programmer
    MN, USA
    The NEC is also available free online.

    The only problem is you can only view one page at a time and you can't download and save it.
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