Home>Discussions>ELECTRICAL & LIGHTING>Cost to rewire a 200 yr old home
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jsarson
Cost to rewire a 200 yr old home

Hi, I am seriously considering purchasing an antique home. It has 3 floors (the top is a walk up attic) and a fieldstone basement. The electrical is the old fusebox type & would definately need to be upgraded. The home is just under 3,000 sq. ft. Can anyone give me a reasonable or ballpark estimate of the cost in Massachusetts? South of Boston area?

Thank you

Fencepost
Re: Cost to rewire a 200 yr old home

I think there are too many variables to even give a ballpark estimate here. You'd be best served to ask your friends and neighbors to recommend some licensed electricians, then get at least three estimates. Make sure the electrician understands EVERYTHING you want to do, and that you get a detailed proposal. A project scoped as "rewire house" is so extremely vague you will be hit with umpteen change orders when throughout the project you find that your interpretation of "rewire house" is different from the electrician's.

With that age of house, the style of construction could make rewiring easy or it could make it very difficult. The skill of the electrician will play a big part in his or her ability to route wiring efficiently, well-concealed, and with a minimum of damage.

Also to consider are your plans & dreams for the house to accommodate future needs. Electrical wiring is more than lights and outlets nowadays; you may also wish to install network, video, security, or home theater wiring which adds to the cost of the project (but may be cheaper to do now than later).

As for lighting, a fluorescent strip light installs the same way as a bare-bulb porcelain "keyless" fixture, but many of the new LED lighting options may require completely different methods of installation.

All stuff to consider in your project. Those who don't plan ahead get left behind.

jsarson
Re: Cost to rewire a 200 yr old home

Thanks for the suggestions. I have added them to my list of things to consider should we move forward.

motoguy128
Re: Cost to rewire a 200 yr old home

Best to start small the take care of critical and larger appliances then move on to the nearest circuits or upstairs circuits.

You may want to combine replacing plumbing and electrical together. Do things like run a homerun to the attic in conduit and distribute it from there.

Again, go after biggest hazards first. Fused service disconnects, fuse panels and overloaded circuits... and getting major appliances on their own branch circuit. Dishwashers, disposals, fridge, washing machine, microwave, entertainment center all should have their own circuit with a proper ground. lighting is probably the lowest priority. install CFL's and LEDs to reduce the load.

jsarson
Re: Cost to rewire a 200 yr old home

thanks - so glad I posted here. Even though I recently put on an addition & thought I covered everything (washer dryer, cable, phone) it was just one big room & a garage, not a 10 room whole house project.

dj1
Re: Cost to rewire a 200 yr old home

Replacing wires in a 200 old house should be top priority, since it's a safety issue. You can start with the larger users, as motoguy said, but you have to do it soon, then replace the rest of the wires as you go along.

However the pipes are different. Replace them all at once.

Prices? they vary from place to place and from contractor to contractor. Just get a few estimates and compare them.

Re: Cost to rewire a 200 yr old home

I'm sure the size of the service needs to upgraded. As said before, there are a lot of variables. You will pay at least around $2k just for the new panel and service upgrade. I am not an expert, but I would expect to pay at least $10k for a whole house rewire.

motoguy128
Re: Cost to rewire a 200 yr old home

Yup... I paid $2300 for a licensed electrician to a new 200A panel. Actually it was a really good deal since they also pulled new branch circuits to a fused sub panel, pulled a new circuit to the refrigerator and added a new outlet for a future water heater and they installed a new light fixture in my kitchen that I didn't fee like messing with myself.

For about the same cost as the, in my opinion, worthless arc fault interrupters, I upgraded to a commercial grade Square-D QO panel. The homeline stuff is just too cheap. I've heard of frequent nuisance trips with AFI's. I'd rather have a higher quality panel that will last 50+ years.

For the rest of the house, it just depends on how many circuits you need and how hard they are to access.

After the main panel, then go after major appliances. Anything that uses more than 800-1000W during normal operation needs it's own dedicated circuit. That way circuit ampacity rarely eceeds 50%. That keep wire temperature low and will keep insulation lasting longer. Next, I'd start with outlets that are used regularly. Determine first which outlets you really need. a cheap solution to some wiring may be to abandon uneeded outlets in place and/or install outlets where you can easily access them. For example if you have a wall sconce, consider putting an outlet below it and share the same circuit. Ideally, you should keep outlets and light on separate circuits so if you overload a circuit with an appliance, you don;t lose lighting. But few modern homes are done this way ass well.

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