Electrical work and permits.


I bought an old, 2-1/2-story, semi-detached home a while back as-is. It has old wiring throughout and, due to the way it is constructed, rewiring the entire house will not be easy (mostly because the side. front, and back walls are all masonry). It now has 100-amp service with circuit breakers.
Here's what I am trying to figure out. Should I have the entire house rewired now (including a new service panel, etc), or should I start out by just having the new service panel put in (probably will be 200-amp service) and then worry about rewiring rooms etc. later on? I do know that I will need a permit either way.
If I have the entire house rewired, an electrician I had look at the house said that means the whole house will have to be brought up to all of the current codes (outlets every so many feet in the kitchen, outlets every so many feet in bedrooms, a dedicated line to each bedroom for a window AC, etc.). He wasn't an easy person to communicate with, so I couldn't get a clear answer about what would happen if I just had a new electrical service installed and keep the existing wiring throughout the house.
My concern is really not about the cost. It's about whether getting into that entire project is going to expose me to a nightmare of regulations and inspections.
What I am wondering is, could I just have the service panel replaced and upgraded and basically just be exposed to the permit regulations related to that and not be required to bring everything else in the house up to current codes? In other words, the existing wiring would just be reconnected to the upgrade panel. If that's how it would work, that's what I would want to do.
Is that how it typically works?
(I am in New Jersey, and I do know that in the end I will need to find out for sure from the local building inspector, but I am hoping to get some ideas about it from here first).
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You would need to bring the house *electrical* up to current codes, not the house itself. In my area this includes adding smoke detectors on both sides of all bedroom doors.
The work would be inspected by an electrical inspector only.
If you have the money to have this done now, I would do it now. These things go up in cost as the years advance!
Also electrical codes are designed to protect life and property. *Your* life and your property that is. Your electrical wiring would be pretty darn safe if brought up to code.
The kitchen is a biggie. A lot of things in a kitchen need to be on their own 20 amp circuit. Like microwave, refrigerator, etc. But best to do this so circuits are not overloaded.
But the best part is outlets which work (don't need to "jiggle" the plug). Circuits which can handle the load (circuit does not trip when trying to vacuum, etc.). Three prong outlets everywhere. It just makes day to day living more pleasant when your outlets work properly and circuits work without tripping.
Some advice: I would have all outlet circuits be 20 amp. This is the best and would not cost much more than 15 amp circuits. Things like a space heater can easily trip a 15 amp circuit when other things are plugged in. Also be sure to have outlets added in hallways. Makes vacuuming easier.
Might want to get three quotes from different companies. Maybe you will find an electrician who can communicate with you better.
"BETA-32" wrote in message

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Yes, that's what I meant to say -- the whole house up to current *electrical* codes.

The electrician did say that.

The electrician said that, too. I thought that made sense but I wasn't sure if he was overdoing things since he kept going on and on about so many things that need to be done, should be done, etc. (including cable wiring, phone wiring, recessed lighting,....).

Makes sense to me.
Basically, I'm trying to figure out if, for now, I can just get the new 200-amp service installed without having the whole house rewired. If so, I would probably have the rewiring done later in stages (such as first floor and kitchen first, etc.).
Thanks for all the good advice.
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Here, definitely a "yes"--there, "I don't know".
Call the building permits official's office (whatever it's called in you jurisdiction, here it's under the auspices of the "City Engineer" and ask what is allowed/will be required.
If you're talking of a significant remodel, in actuality it would probably be cheaper in the overall scheme of things to simply do the whole thing in the beginning when you can with near impunity go ahead and get the access required to do the wiring and then do the finish and other interior work.
If the idea is (say) simply a kitchen remodel, here at least you can get the work permit to cover that job and that's where the jurisdiction would end. The only thing I can think of under rules here would be if the existing wiring were discovered at the time of the inspection to be so bad as to be unsafe to the point of them declaring the dwelling uninhabitable, that that would be something that you'd not want to risk, anyway.
But, the upshot is, other than the suggestions you've receieved of some things to consider, the only answer is to contact your local officials to find out what the rules are where you are.
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Find an electrician on the up-and-up who can answer your questions. You are much better off by following the code and having it inspected both for personal peace of mind and insurance reasons. I would also investigate either full or partial AC. I purchased a 4 level house without central air conditioning and was able to run central AC to all rooms using attic space and inside of closets for lower levels.
If you find an electrician willing to do the work without a permit find someone else. In my state and county there is a page in the local paper for stop work orders for people having work done without permits. Make sure your electrician is licensed.
Good Luck
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Thanks. I probably worded things wrong but I definitely do not want to have done without a permit, the required inspection that goes with that, etc.
But what I was trying to figure out is if I just have new (say 200-amp) service brought in, will I be able to just get a permit for that, have it done, and have the existing wiring connected to the new service panel without rewiring the whole house? If I can, I would like to have that done and then have the rest of the wiring done later, possibly in stages.

I have been thinking about doing that, which is partly why I am thinking of 200-amp service. The house itself will present a lot of problems trying to make that possible, such as no attic. I probably should have said 3-story instead of 2-1/2 story because the 3rd floor is finished with 3 rooms and a hallway -- just all of the rooms have sloping ceilings. One option may be to provide central air for just the first and second floors, but whatever I do in terms of AC won't be happening for a while.
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BETA-32 wrote:

My two cents:
You can very likely have the panel upgraded to 200A without having to bring the whole electric system up to current code. But, if you later then replace all the old wiring, part of the work is going to be redone, as they have to rip all the wiring from the breakers out of the panel again and replace it. Unless there is some compelling reason to upgrade to 200A now and put off the rest, I'd do it all at the same time, whenever that is.
How old is the wiring? What type is it? Grounded/ungrounded, etc. What real shortcomings are an issue with it right now?
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snipped-for-privacy@optonline.net says...

When we had a new service and panel put in, we rewired much of the house, but not all, because some parts were going to be extensively remodeled, so we could do new wiring in them later.
The electrician kept the box from the old panel in place and used it as a junction box for the few old circuits that were fed from the new panel. The new panel was only a couple of feet away, so the wiring to use the old circuits with the new panel was very simple, just a few runs of wire a few feet long, from the new breakers to the box from the old panel.
When it came time for the renovation of the rooms with the old circuits, the old panel's box was removed, and the new circuits were run directly to the new panel. The switch-over took less than an hour of electrician's time for all the circuits that we switched from old to new.
That was all with permits, inspections, etc.
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Thanks. I think that's the approach I am going to end up using.
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New Jersey is one of the few states that has a "Rehab Code". http://www.state.nj.us/dca/codes/rehab/index.shtml It was designed to minimize expenses when rehabbing an old house. You can find a copy of it on the New Jersey web site. My brother is an electrical inspector in one of the tougher code enforcement towns and he always tells me that he can't make homeowners bring their house up to current code because of the Rehab code. Many building inspectors are not fully aware of the Rehab code and it may be a tough sell to get them to comply with it. You might want to print out a copy and show it to your local building inspector and ask him what he thinks.
Based on that you can upgrade whatever you want without being forced to upgrade the whole house. Although in the long run it is best to bring the house up to modern standards as much as possible for safety, convenience, and resale. You would still need to install smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors as per the fire code.
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Wow! That's amazing! Thanks.
That's exactly the information I need.

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BETA-32 posted for all of us...

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Gee, you managed to post 21 of these same messages in this newsgroup on 11/08/2006 alone. What a sad and lonely loser you must be.
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BETA-32 posted for all of us...

--
Tekkie Don\'t bother to thank me, I do this as a public service.

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