I'll be moving into a very old house soon, originally built n 1842, modified
a good bit, and electrified in the 1920's I believe.. this place will need
heck, one of the lights I know of was converted from gas!;)
I'm fully confident in my ability to replace the breaker box, and general
wiring and replacement of all those outlets that were placed on the
baseboard of the 1st floor.. knowing how to wire things is just not a
problem for me.. my problem lies in some of the getting from point a to b..
lightswitch to-basement, lightswitch to light in the ceiling, basement to
2nd floor outlets.. there is no attic to speak of (maybe a tiny crawlspace,
but nothing there would be any wiring access in, the ceilings upstars slant
with the roof)..
how is this done most easily? fish taping it through? some way of attaching
new wires to old and pulling it back? tying old to fish tape and pulling it?
I would imagine there are horizontal wallboards behind plaster.. did people
that were electrifying things back then generally run the wiring behind the
wallboards? or ontop?
if they're behind I guess that sort of trashes the prospect of just yanking
my way about and patching after..
how should I get this started?
is there even really a question here or am I just tearing about this out
loud in my head? lol
Frankly it is best done by someone who has had a lot of experience doing
it. It is amazing what they can do and all the tricks they know. It is not
impossible for someone with far less experience to do it, but it will take
them a lot longer.
Experience definitely counts in these situations. Your best bet is to find a
good "old-work" electrician. Between weighted strings, chains, stiff wires,
flexible wires, cotton balls and vacuum cleaners, long drill bits, flexible
drill bits, right angle drills, baseboards and other trim boards, and not
always trying to go the shortest route, it is always possible to get a cable
from one opening to another with no or very little visible tracks.
Certainly the fishtape will come in handy, but a contractor level
electrical supply store may have a few more gadgets that can help.
It's tempting to replace all old non-grounded wiring, as supposedly bad
wiring is a major cause of housefires. But, lights and the switches
really don't need the grounded wiring as much as the electrical
outlets. So, I'd begin with the outlets, and if the wiring between the
switches and lights are functional, leave them alone. I'd also begin
with a careful analysis if the existing wiring design. A lot of old
homes have junction boxes that are filled with connections beyond code.
In my attic, for example, I found many open junction boxes because the
covers couldn't be forced on for having so many wires in the box. I
fixed this sort of problem with new junction boxes. It's very
important to create a schematic of the wiring system for future
changes. Get an oversized breaker box, use 12 gauge for outlets, and
14 gauge for lights. Some new homes have 14 gauge for everything as
many new appliances use less electricity, but in reality the number of
electrical gadgets is growing everyday. So, replace with expectations
that more current, not less, will be used in the future.
Congradulations on the purchase of such a fine old house. I'd rewire
also with the goal of keeping the original pre-electrical days intact.
When we moved into our house, PG&E had strung the supply from the pole
all the way across the property to the house box, which was located on
the garage. This wrecked the view of the backyard and water. I ripped
out the old box, and relocated it right next to the pole, so that the
property had fewer wires stretching out over the skyline.
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