Home>Discussions>ELECTRICAL & LIGHTING>Upgrading electrical questions.
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MBeach
Re: Upgrading electrical questions.
JLMCDANIEL wrote:

First I wouldn't hire him. He has bid on replacing the panels only and ignored your other requests. This type of bid is generally a "get and the door" bid expecting to get change orders for the other work which will significantly run the bill up. Just my humble opinion.

Jack

Thanks Jack.

In the future, should I see a quote listing each dedicated circuit and outlet (in addition to what he quoted)?

JLMCDANIEL
Re: Upgrading electrical questions.

A quote should contain a description of all work that is to be performed and all material to be used. Other wise you can fall into the "change order additional cost" trap. "Oh, when I did the quote I didn't include receptacles or running additional wiring."

With a 1500 Sq. foot house I don't believe you need an upgrade to 200 amps, however that is pretty much a standard now a days.

Jack

MBeach
Re: Upgrading electrical questions.
JLMCDANIEL wrote:

A quote should contain a description of all work that is to be performed and all material to be used. Other wise you can fall into the "change order additional cost" trap. "Oh, when I did the quote I didn't include receptacles or running additional wiring."

With a 1500 Sq. foot house I don't believe you need an upgrade to 200 amps, however that is pretty much a standard now a days.

Jack

Great to know - thank you!

He only brought up the 200 amp upgrade when I asked him about it towards the end of his visit. I don't think he would have quoted me on it if I hadn't asked. He was pretty clear that it wasn't necessary, but wouldn't hurt should it be the direction I wanted to go in. He did the 200 amp number twice, at first putting one number down - then changing it a bit later (higher) due to a hardware need.

He did rattle off brands and hardware, but I couldn't recall what they were, and much of what he was saying sounded like a foreign language. :)

Thanks again. I did get a bit wary when I asked when/how I'd get a detailed quote and he informed me that he typically shares his "short hand notes" (what I typed above), and then only writes up a specific list once we "agree" to work with him. He was adamant that the prices would not change, but without that in writing...

I wouldn't be against calling him back to ask about the receptacles. It's a shame, because overall the experience with him seemed positive, and had I known I would have questioned again at the end of our discussion if he remembered I'd asked about the GFI receptacles and dedicated circuits.

For dedicated circuits (for example in the kitchen), does that require an electrician to run additional wire?

JLMCDANIEL
Re: Upgrading electrical questions.

Without knowing what you already have , and not being on site I can only make generalizations. If you don't have 2 20 amp circuits in the kitchen you would most likely need to run new wiring to bring it up to current code. You may also need additional circuits for a range, microwave, etc.Additional receptacles in other rooms may also be required which also would require additional wiring. The wiring to the bathroom may be a 15 amp circuit which would need to be changed out to a 20 amp circuit. GCFI's would be required on outlets servicing the counter tops in the kitchen, receptacles in the bathroom, circuits in the basement, in the garage, and outside outlets. AFCI's would be required in most other living spaces. That is if you are bringing the electrical up to current code. A lot will depend on how far you want to go in the update.

You really need to spell out exactly what you want done so you can get quotes. It is best to write out what you want done so all the quotes will reflect that work. Verbally done may leave things out.

Jack

Ernie_Fergler
Re: Upgrading electrical questions.

I too would be leery of the two quotes he gave you.
Without seeing the job "option 1" sounds like a waste of time and talent. In my world upgrading a 30 amp feeder to a 40 amp feeder is next to worthless.
Even though "option 2" sounds more like to norm, in so far as a 200 amp upgrade, I still would wonder why the first offer was presented.:cool:
Did he offer any references for work recently performed?
I would not worry too much about someone not mentioning a GFCI here and there, as long as they are listed on a detailed bid sheet presented to you. And if you would know what circuits need an upgrade with dedicated wiring , GFCIs, AFCIs and all that.
Never be afraid to pick the brain of whomever you call for an estimate.
Good luck....

MBeach
Re: Upgrading electrical questions.
Ernie_Fergler wrote:

I too would be leery of the two quotes he gave you.
Without seeing the job "option 1" sounds like a waste of time and talent. In my world upgrading a 30 amp feeder to a 40 amp feeder is next to worthless.
Even though "option 2" sounds more like to norm, in so far as a 200 amp upgrade, I still would wonder why the first offer was presented.:cool:
Did he offer any references for work recently performed?
I would not worry too much about someone not mentioning a GFCI here and there, as long as they are listed on a detailed bid sheet presented to you. And if you would know what circuits need an upgrade with dedicated wiring , GFCIs, AFCIs and all that.
Never be afraid to pick the brain of whomever you call for an estimate.
Good luck....

He wasn't the only one to focus more on the first option than the 2nd. Our home inspector and a handyman both, on separate occasions, mentioned the same. That it wasn't necessary to upgrade to 200AMP.

Again, I'm clueless to all of this, so I can't say which is right or wrong.

JLMCDANIEL wrote:

You really need to spell out exactly what you want done so you can get quotes. It is best to write out what you want done so all the quotes will reflect that work. Verbally done may leave things out.

Jack

Thanks Jack. That's the big problem - I'm new to all this so I've no idea what I do need (or should have). A learning experience for sure! I've seen comments in threads and comments online, such as having a GFCI outlet for bathrooms and in the kitchen, as well as having dedicated circuits for small appliances (I suppose one for a microwave, one for a coffee maker), as well as one for the food disposal, dishwasher, and fridge. We have a gas stove and range, so I'm guessing we don't need dedicated circuits for that?

Another wrinkle - we have an old kitchen that we don't plan to upgrade (check that, gut and build up fresh)- for another 9 months or so. I'm thinking that in the mean time, it'll make sense to at least just upgrade the panels (since they're a fire hazard), and then in the future get the dedicated circuits in the kitchen and GFCI upgrades.

JLMCDANIEL
Re: Upgrading electrical questions.

If you don't want to do the additional wiring at this time, I would suggest you either have the panels replaced by one 100 amp panel or go ahead and upgrade to a 200 amp panel. I personally don't think you really need 200 amps for such a small house but it has become pretty much and industry standard. Considering the cost difference would be small and the fact you may want to add on in the future I would go with what you want which is a 200 amp service.

You can then do the other wiring as you remodel.
Jack

MBeach
Re: Upgrading electrical questions.
JLMCDANIEL wrote:

You can then do the other wiring as you remodel.
Jack

Thanks Jack, I wasn't sure if this was possible! Glad to know it is.

MBeach
Re: Upgrading electrical questions.
Ernie_Fergler wrote:

JLMCDANIEL's post says it all. I have nothing to add, and that is a first.:D
MBeach, have you received any other quotes?

I've received one formal (again handwritten, so I can type that up and share it here), and one I'm waiting for them to send to me via email.

The other two included everything, which is one reason I wasn't sure if it was possible to only upgrade the panel/outside stuff, and then the kitchen and other outlets later. I suppose I should have asked if they could split out the costs, but I might be able to even gauge that from the quotes as I look through them.

They were both fine, one individual a bit gruff from a personality perspective, but I suppose that's not the primary thing to go on. These two companies didn't bring "binders" like the first one did (the first one brought two binders - one filled with before & after pictures of their work, the second with the companies staff, their licenses, and customer feedback).

Once I type up one, and receive the other, I'll be sure to post them here!

MBeach
Re: Upgrading electrical questions.

Hi all,

It's been a while since I've posted, but my upgrade is almost complete! Inspector is supposed to come by today to make sure it's all good to go. Thought I'd toss up pictures of one of the panels and the new entry for any comments and feedback.

My apologies again for the image size.

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