Sadly, I had to attend the funeral of an elderly family member over the
weekend. There is a house involved that will have to be sold soon as
none of the descendants live in the area, and the "old farmhouse" was
sold years ago, this is just a house in which she was living.
In discussion with other family members (who have had a few days more
than I to work on getting this moving,) I was told that "FHA would
require" the fusebox to be replaced with a breaker box to qualify for a
loan. True? This just doesn't seem right to me.
More importantly visual inspection red-flagged the receptacles to me as
those old 2-prong T-slot ones, and I mentioned that to the other family
member (executor of will/estate/etc) then ran down to fusebox again to
investigate wiring. Here's what I eventually found.
- all wiring that appears to be original to the house is cloth covered
NM type cables, appear to be in excellent shape.
- Every single cable that was oriented so that I could read the printing
on it was marked "With Ground." Hmmm...
- pulled out a recep in the living room and I found a very nicely
installed single gang box, two cables coming into it, and yes they were
grounded! The two ground wires from the cables were spliced to a
pigtail which was screwed to the metal box. The recep of course was
- here's the kicker; that splice was *soldered.*
- and yes, the wiring is COPPER not aluminum thankfully!
- so to summarize, the wiring, other than not being 90C temp rated,
appears functionally identical to what would be installed today, with
the exception that the receps are obsolete.
So, I ASSume that what I should do, in the interest of inexpensively
removing what would be a red flag to a buyer, is to just go to the
supply house, buy a couple contractor packs of good duplex receps and
some green 14 (or a box of greenies,) and roll through and replace all
the receps in the house with new 3-prong ones. Question is, what would
be the best way to splice to that soldered connection? I'm a little
concerned with the idea of just slapping a greenie on top of possibly 60
year old solder. Should I twist a new pigtail into the bundle and add
some solder? Or am I all concerned about nothing and the wire nut of
the greenie will bite through the solder acceptably? If I should
solder, what wattage iron did a typical electrician use back in the day?
I'm assuming this is going to be typical of 20-30 boxes throughout the
house so I am trying to plan my moves so that I can roll through there
in a day.
I probably will bring some GFCIs as well and put them in the kitchen and
bath as I don't believe that anything was ever updated, ever.
I don't know exactly when the house was built, but I am assuming
sometime in the 50's by the kitchen cabinets and countertop (which I love.)
Another interesting feature of the house is that the light switches are
all pushbuttons. I think there was a thread on these a while back where
I mentioned this very house, as I've never seen them elsewhere. Like this:
but ivory in color, and the button is perfectly rectangular and square
to the wall. When I go back I'll have to pull one out and snap some pics.
Sidebar question - my inclination is to keep the original switches and
plastic cover plates, as IMHO they "fit" the age and decor of the house.
Or do you think it would be better to replace the switches and plates
as well to provide a more "modern" look? I'm concerned with bang for
the buck here and the perceptions of the average buyer. I know that I'm
not average :)
thanks for any advice/opinions, esp. on how to deal with the solder joints.
replace "roosters" with "cox" to reply.
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