Home>Discussions>ELECTRICAL & LIGHTING>Is Use Of Electrical "Raceway" Acceptable
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violet holly
Is Use Of Electrical "Raceway" Acceptable

Upgrading electrical in 1890 home.

Found old Knob & tube wiring is still active in 2nd floor of home.

Electrician proposes bringing in electrical from panel in basement, outside, up to second floor and then running a "raceway" along the baseboard and along the ceiling in two rooms. (Hope I explained this correctly). Is this an acceptable way of fixing this problem?

I've seen video of electricians "snaking" wires through walls with magnetic type devices, but not sure this can be done in an old home.

Please advise.

Re: Is Use Of Electrical "Raceway" Acceptable

Acceptable code wise, yes. Aesthetically pleasing, probably not. One would need to survey the structure to know if alternative means are possible. Without knowing the circumstances, the electrician probably suggested the most economical way to accomplish the job.

Re: Is Use Of Electrical "Raceway" Acceptable

Your electrician wants to take the easy way out for himself, and it would likely be the cheapest way for you too, but even though it's legal I would not do it. Running wires in existing ceilings with another floor on top of them is a real pain unless you demo a lot of ceiling- some demo is likely going to be needed anyway. Explain that you want to leave as much integrity of the original home intact as you can and to quote you a price for doing that instead. If he balks, get someone else with a better attitude toward working on old homes.

Welcome to 'Old House' ownership, it's a different world than houses today and not for the timid. Some things will be harder to do and cost more, but none of us have the time to build today then wait a hundred years so we can have an old house with all it's charm!


John freeman
Re: Is Use Of Electrical "Raceway" Acceptable

In my experience it is easy to "fish" wires into the walls of old homes. However there may be problems with access. The best solution would be to cut a channel for the wires in the wall, run new circuits, then patch the wall.

Your electricians fix is legal but unsightly. Apparently there is no attic access. If you have an attic you may be able to bring new circuits from the basement the way he suggested to the attic and then drop a new circuit down into each new receptacle. Sometimes this solution won't work for all receptacles because the slant of the roof makes access to some receptacles impossible.

If you are willing to patch all holes he can bring the circuit to your second floor through the downstairs walls instead of a pipe on the outside.

Re: Is Use Of Electrical "Raceway" Acceptable

The raceway your electrician may be suggesting may be Wiremold. Wiremold is a trademarked product that allows you to run a raceway on the wall surface usually along the baseboard. There is the 500 or 700 series available which would allow two to three circuits using THHN conductors. It comes in either beige or white but can be painted to match whatever interior decor you have. It is an attractive finished raceway designed for the interior surface of a house. It comes with corners, boxes and everything that you would need to wire an entire house.

I just finished wiring the 2nd floor of a house that we are rehabbing with Wiremold bringing the conductors up the outside of the house in PVC near the current service so it blends in. If you want to take a look at it your local Home Depot has a section in their electrical department that is dedicated to Wiremold. I have installed several thousand feet of Wiremold and it is a product that works. Old house 2nd floors can be a nightmare to wire especially depending on whether or not the house has been insulated. Wiremold avoids that nightmare.

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