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NinaMS
Old house electrical problems

We live in a nearly 100 year old house. The lighting in the kitchen has not been updated since probably the 40's. Our son and daughter-in-law gave us a new light and a ceiling fan with a light but the problem is that one of the old lights just won't come on any longer. How would I go about switching out all the old ceramic and whatever it is to new? NinaMS

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dj1
Re: Old house electrical problems

I'd re-wire the kitchen at least.

brewster
Re: Old house electrical problems

I agree with dj---you would also have to take a look at the main panel elec supply in the cellar/utility room---it's not unusual to see a 30 amp, 40 amp or 50 amp main elec panel in these older houses, which is completely inadequate for the 21st century.

Typical main panels now run at least 100 amp, with 200 amp now often considered the new standard.

The larger capacity main panel would allow common usages such as a dishwasher, clothes washer, or small room AC; this will also improve resale likelihood for the house, if & when the time comes.

meternerd
Re: Old house electrical problems
brewster wrote:

I agree with dj---you would also have to take a look at the main panel elec supply in the cellar/utility room---it's not unusual to see a 30 amp, 40 amp or 50 amp main elec panel in these older houses, which is completely inadequate for the 21st century.

Typical main panels now run at least 100 amp, with 200 amp now often considered the new standard.

The larger capacity main panel would allow common usages such as a dishwasher, clothes washer, or small room AC; this will also improve resale likelihood for the house, if & when the time comes.

Ditto. Replace the service with a 200 amp and replace the fuse panel with a breaker panel. Further rewiring can be done as you get the time and money.

Fencepost
Re: Old house electrical problems

You should be able to just remove and replace. For the light that won't come on, it could be the fixture or it could be the switch. Switches are (usually) easy to replace. These are the sorts of things that most homeowners can handle. Get a book on home electrical repairs; you can find them at most home improvement centers.

Now if the wiring is bad or inadequate, then more involved upgrades are necessary. You probably should get an electrician involved, since your question hints that you don't have much experience with electrical wiring.

By the way, a kitchen should have at least two 20A small appliance circuits (read: countertop outlets). They should be GFI protected. The refrigerator can be on one of these circuits, but it should NOT be on the GFI protected portion of the circuit. My house was built only eight years ago, has two 20A circuits, and my wife is constantly switching the microwave between one circuit and the other so she can plug in other appliances where it's most convenient to use. I'm wishing there were three circuits (it's only a 1500 square foot house) but hopefully we'll be moving soon to an old farmhouse where I can rewire it to my heart's content.

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