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How do you know how much work you need?

Hello there,

I'm worried about calling an electrician for help and getting bad advice. We have a 200-year-old house. Fuses blow constantly if space heaters are on. It's a jungle of extension cords. There are definitely not enough outlets according to code.

As with all old houses, there are several issues. We have water pressure issues. We have radon. We were told we can't insulate the attic because the roof can't take the snow load. We have no bathroom venting. Believe it or not, installing geothermal would probably allow for a payback time of about 3.5 years.

My thought is this - we'll probably end up tearing up lots of walls if we do some wiring. It seems to make sense to add in vents and plumbing at the same time. So that's the perspective I'm coming from.

I definitely think upgrading the electrical panel is worth it. Clearly, as well, we need to install more outlets and run more circuits all over the house. My question is - how do you know if you need to rewire what has already been run? Is there something I can do before the electrician comes to see for myself?

Perhaps tomorrow I can add some pictures. Just wanted to see if anyone had some thoughts.

Rodney H
Re: How do you know how much work you need?

I agree, redo the wiring, and bring it up to code. It is surprising how electricians can re wire a house, without destroying very much.

Since the wiring needs replacement, now would be a good time to reinsulate at the same time, using the spray foam insualtion. The spray foam insulation will seal all cracks in that old house

If deciding to gut the entire inside, for new insulation, it will save costs when the electrican comes to rewire. You might spend more by gutting the walls but save some work hours for the electrical boys. With no sheetrock in the way, you can run extra, 'up to code" outlets whereever you need them.

If gutting the inside, it will be a great time to upgrade venting, duct work, plumbing, etc. I know, everything costs lots of buck nowadays, but so does a big house fire, frozen pipes, and huge, huge utility bills. Two years ago, I remodeled an old 107 year old home, replacing all inside sheetrock, lots of new wiring, up to date switches, plus installing a new heat pump for heating and cooling. The savings from the heat pump alone can helps pay for the remodeling costs. True, heat pumps cost lots of money, but you will be surprised how little propane or natural gas you will use each year.

Find a local, long time electrician, to give you an estimate. Some of these "new" guys are just out to "rip you off". If the electrician is local, where everyone knows and trusts him, he will not "rip you off".

Good luck with your project. Feel free to drop an e-mail, if you have further questions. [email protected]

Re: How do you know how much work you need?

Just a guess but I'll bet you have an old house with a 60 amp service and old wiring that has been kludged and added to.

I would suggest you get several estimates on upgrading the service and rewiring. You can have the new wiring, new panel and new meter base installed while maintain the existing wiring. Once it is done the new drop can be added and connected to the meter base so you will be without electricity for a very short time. Then the old wiring and fuse panel can be removed or decommissioned.

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