Electrical wiring problem

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I have this room gutted out and was taking a look at what I needed to re-wire. This is a small room that is above the downstairs bedroom and next to the upstairs restroom.
When I took the ceiling light out, I found quite a wiring mess I need to deal with. First of all, the wire that supplies the power and two of the other wires that branch off to the bathroom lights and the light over the stairs are all old two wire bundles with no ground wire. I am assuming that I should replace all of this.
Here is a picture of the wires after I removed them from the light receptacle. The second wire from the left is the one that supplies the power.
https://www.yousendit.com/download/RmNERFFTOC9lcExIRGc9PQ
Here is another pic of how the wires are routed to the light switch and to the switch and lights and medicine cabinet in the bathroom.
https://www.yousendit.com/download/RmNERFFUQzc5eFdGa1E9PQ
All of those wires are an easy fix except for the one that supplies the power to the upstairs stuff. That wire disappears above the bathroom and I have no idea where it goes and if it hits another junction box. Here is a pic of that wire.
https://www.yousendit.com/download/RmNERFFUQzdvQUxIRGc9PQ
I plan to re-model the bathroom and hallway after I finish this room but I can't get access to find where that wire goes until I finish the room I'm working on now. I could re-route the power line to a junction box in the bathroom wall and re-wire everything else and deal with the power wire when I gut that part of the house.
How about that? I think I just worked out my problem while trying to explain it to anyone here that might read it. I will be checking back tho to see if anybody here has a better suggestion.
Thanks, David
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You came up with the correct solution. Just box it in an accessible location. Run a new 20 amp line up for the new bathroom, and at least one 15 amp line for the other room. While it's open you can run catv, telephone, and cat5 for internet if you desire.
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I can't run any new breakers. My box is full. All I can do is eventually replace all that old wire that has no ground wire.
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Andy suggests:
Remove one of the existing breakers and replace it with a much larger breaker and run the output to another panel mounted beside the main panel. Then you should have a number of breaker positions available. Use one for the line you removed originally , and the rest for any additional wiring. Be cognizant of the required wire and breaker size. Just a suggestion.
Andy in Eureka, Texas
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wrote:

Regardless if you have space in the panel or not, you should still run up new feeds for the new work. If it's just a couple of new circuits, you can probably get half sized breakers for the existing panel. This would save you the expense of a sub panel, but you can also install a sub if you like
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RBM wrote:

some panels don't allow half sized breakers. check first. damhikt.
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wrote:

Correct, usually ones that use 40 full sized breakers to begin with. I doubt the OP has one, or he'd probably have room in it.

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You will have a lot of fun fixing all of this... Now that you have opened up the walls and ceiling you MUST bring all visible wiring up to the current electrical code... You were incorrect with your assumption, you are mandated by law to address these issues when you open up a wall, you will NOT pass any inspections from the building department if you don't take care of these issues...

The questions here are:
(1.) Is that ceiling light the first connection on that circuit, or does it run through other places in the house before going back to the main breaker panel...
(2.) Can you positively identify where each of those wires goes to even after they are no longer visible...
(3.) Is there a readily accessible way to make homeruns for new wires to your main breaker panel...

Now that you can see those wires, you need to bring all of that up to code before you close up that wall again, even if you intend to totally gut that bathroom for a remodel in the near future...

You need to do some circuit tracing to figure out what is fed from where in your house... That will be totally necessary to know and understand to help you plan how many new homeruns you will need to pull to your panel...

Nope... If you are going to do this correctly, you need to deal with all of that now, before you complete the room you are working in...

Do you have an attic in your house ???
If you do, and it is close to this room, you should consider installing two conduits to the attic, one for line voltage power and one for low voltage communications, since it is easier to add outlets to upstairs rooms from above than it is from below...
The suggestion from RBM about running a 20 amp circuit for the bathroom should be followed, as you will need that homerun of higher rated wiring when you complete your bathroom remodel... Better to install it now than have to redo work that you are about to do in this room you have gutted when you work on the bathroom itself... TIP: if you are going to be relocating the particular outlet box in the bathroom that you are able to currently access, it would be wise to leave enough slack (you do this by leaving extra loops of the wire inside the wall just before it enters the outlet box) inside the wall you have open when you install your new homerun to the main breaker panel so that you will be able to relocate that homerun within the bathroom to whatever new location you need to...
Is the bathroom currently fed from the circuit that feeds that old ceiling light location in the gutted room ??? What about all of the wall outlet locations, are those also on the same circuit ???
You need to figure out how you have to configure your new wiring... If this is something you aren't sure of how to do, you need to invest in hiring an electrician to do this correctly... Especially if you have circuits that are now exposed that run through your work area to other parts of your house...
If you don't do it right now, you will have to pay later to redo the work after you have hung drywall and painted in this room which is currently bare studs at the moment... You should also make note of the ceiling joists, are they up to current building code also ??? Exterior walls, and bathroom walls should probably get insulation installed in them with a proper vapor barrier...
As for any low voltage outlets for telephone, CATV, cat5 dataports, etc, you should do a homerun to the basement from any accessible attic space for all of those cabling types and then split off to add any new outlets for upstairs rooms from the accessible attic space, since it will be much easier to deal with only having to pull ONE of each cable type down through your walls to the basement or garage wherever your main junction point is located... It all depends on what you want to install in the future...
~~ Evan
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Evan wrote:

Certainly not true here. Wiring that met code when it was installed is generally OK.
Inspections cover the new work that was done (all of which should be on the permit).
The NEC is about new wiring. Local jurisdictions may or may not have rules for existing wiring.
But updating while walls are open is a good idea.
--
bud--

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Absolutely WRONG...
If you open a wall and can now SEE it, whether it be wiring, plumbing or structure, you have to have it up to the latest code in order to be able to get inspected to close up the wall again...
If you leave a wall intact, you need not bring the stuff hidden inside it up to code... But once you OPEN a wall, all aspects of the building code apply within that wall, as it is within the scope of the new work...
~~ Evan
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On Sat, 20 Feb 2010 13:31:17 -0800 (PST), Evan

Bud is right, it really depends on what your local rehab code says. Some places may require everything come up to code if you can see it but most will not require this unless you are actually altering that circuit. To start with, just because I can see part of a circuit does not mean I have access to all of it. If you pull a new circuit all the way from the panel, that would have to be current code but extending an existing code is within that local option call.
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On Feb 20, 8:55pm, snipped-for-privacy@aol.com wrote:

Nope, you are wrong...
If the OP tried to get inspected with the wiring on that bathroom wall as it is now, he would be failed every time... That wiring is NOT up to code, when you cut into a wall, you have to have everything you can see in that wall up to current codes before you will get signed off to close it back up...
He would have to repair that to bring it up to code, i.e. it is supported and routed properly, stapled within 12" of entering the outlet box, and the radii of the cable bends, etc...
Just because the OP didn't install it or didn't touch it is meaningless, it became his problem the moment he opened up the walls and exposed it to view within his current scope of work...
It is folklore and anecdotal evidence like the opinions thrown out here which is the reason why so many homeowners who attempt their own remodeling projects are so mystified and baffled when they fail inspections... It is because you assume that just because you didn't work on it, you don't have to touch it... Wrong, wrong, wrong...
~~ Evan
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There won't be any inspectors looking at this particular project. Not that I would mind having someone looking over my shoulder. The local government around here doesn't stick their hand out for money for permits and such unless you are adding on a room or something like that.
David
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Good luck with that...
It is just this sort of situation which illustrates why homeowners shouldn't be doing this sort of work... "No permits required" LOL... Tell me what part of the country you are in so I can warn my friends and family to never buy an existing dwelling located there as you really can't be sure of what the previous homeowners have done when they did "work" since it is all hidden inside the walls and never inspected by a qualified building official...
~~ Evan
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Evan wrote:

Well, Houston doesn't have - or enforce - a permitting system if the work done is within the existing four walls. Or even if one or more of the walls is extended.
'Course we don't have zoning either.
That said, very few buildings collapse from poor workmanship or shame and not very many people get electrocuted due to bad wiring - all things considered.
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If you think every homeowner in your area gets everything inspected when he is puttering around the house you are a likely off your rocker.
I've had a couple of additions put on this house over the last 30 years in which I've done the electrical. They both were inspected and passed with no problems to fix. So either I am doing a good job or the inspector is not worth the $125 fee. Take your pick.
You may have noticed that I took an extra few days to research and analyze the problem before deciding what to do and have now added a sub panel to the breaker box and will be replacing all that old wire that I have found and breaking up some of those connections into smaller circuits. And I have noticed that while it is very possible that there might still be a small amount of the old wire left that I am not aware of, there's no longer any of the old wire that makes it to the breaker boxes.
David
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wrote:

There is also 250,86 Exception No. 1: Metal enclosures and raceways for conductors added to existing installations of open wire, knob-and-tube wiring, and nonmetallic-sheathed cable shall not be required to be connected to the equipment grounding conductor where these enclosures or wiring methods comply with (1) through (4) as follows: (1)     Do not provide an equipment ground (2)     Are in runs of less than 7.5 m (25 ft) (3)     Are free from probable contact with ground, grounded metal, metal lath, or other conductive material (4)     Are guarded against contact by persons
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On Sat, 20 Feb 2010 18:07:26 -0800 (PST), Evan

Yeah, I am just a state licensed inspector, I don't have a clue. Sorry for the confusion.
It is all up to the local building official what the inspector does and in a lot of cases, the inspector himself. Every state or authority having jurisdiction has their own rehab code and they are certainly not uniform about what needs to be brought up to code and what is grand fathered.
The Florida "existing building" code just says
302.6 Electrical. Additions, alterations, renovations or repairs to electrical installations shall conform to Chapter 27 of the Florida Building Code (the NEC adopted in it's entirety) , Building without requiring the existing installation to comply with all of the requirements of this code. Additions, alterations or repairs shall not cause an existing installation to become unsafe, hazardous or overloaded.
Minor additions, alterations, renovations and repairs to existing installations shall meet the provisions for new construction, unless such work is done in the same manner and arrangement as was in the existing system, is not hazardous and is approved.
As you can see, there is plenty of latitude in how you read this.
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On Feb 20, 11:38pm, snipped-for-privacy@aol.com wrote:

Yup... A state licensed inspector down in Florida...
Not to diminish your state at all, but the biggest worry down there is structural concerns due to the hurricane risks...
It is funny how when you leave it up to the discretion of the individual inspector's interpretation that some homes will be safer than others, because some inspectors are more attentive to certain details than others and come to the job with more years of experience in the trade they are inspecting than a co-worker in the building inspector's office...
I wouldn't want you inspecting any building I live in, since you seem to think that gutting a wall down to bare studs is only a "minor" alteration and that anything existing inside the wall cavity that is now exposed is just fine the way it is...
Why not ask yourself these questions when you do your "job"...
How do you know exactly which set of codes apply to old work in that condition ??? Because it seems that under your code, existing installations are good, but how do you know if that work would have passed an inspection when it was originally installed ??? You sound like just because it is there and exists and wasn't just done that you need no further proof of that old work being acceptable when it was done...
That butcher job on the OP's bathroom wall looks like it was a piss poor homeowner done "renovation" that would NOT have passed inspection when it was installed if it was in an exposed wall cavity and needed to be looked at BEFORE that wall was closed in...
You raise the issue of previous work being grandfathered in because it met code at the time... LOL... Prove it... Without being able to reference a prior wiring inspection report document which indicates those wires as having passed inspection and thus met code at the time, a homeowner has nothing to stand on to support a claim that any "existing" work ever met code when it was originally installed...
Without having such documentation and now having that mess exposed within the scope of the new work area, if the OP was in an area of the country (like mine) that took building inspection and safety seriously, someone who knows what they are doing would without even raising a question over the issue replace all of that wiring in the open stud bays...
This is why homeowners should NOT be able to do "renovation" work on their homes without pulling a permit and having their work inspected before they seal it up inside a wall to be someone else's problem down the line at some later point in time if it wasn't done properly...
~~ Evan
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Evan wrote:

... but to diminish all your state ....

With minimal reading ability you would understand that an inspector has somewhat limited ability to tag existing wiring - "without requiring the existing installation to comply with all of the requirements of this code".
Most of us would like inspectors to follow applicable codes. I don't think Greg is an island of latitude in the sea of Florida inspectors.

What reason is there for an inspector to believe it did not meet a previous code? Seems like any proof that is required is from the inspector.
And it may surprise you that competent inspectors have seen old wiring and know what was allowed in the past.

No one is competent but Evan.
And no inspectors are competent but Evan's (assuming that Evan is correct in what his inspectors require - which I am not convinced of given some of Evan's other errors.)
The NEC applies almost entirely to new wiring. The NEC requires AFCIs on many circuits but I don't have to add them to my house. And if I add a circuit I don't have to install them on the other circuits.
Existing wiring is covered, if at all, by other codes, which Greg provided an example of - the only example we have seen
Minnesota does not generally require existing wiring that was code compliant when installed to be changed if other work is done. The inspector looks at the new work.
In hibb's case, I would secure wiring that was apparently fished into the wall. I personally would probably replace much/all of the wiring - but it is not required by the NEC.
--
bud--

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