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Old 12-17-2007, 05:22 PM
49 posts, read 249,261 times
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My husband and I just bought a new (old) house, and there are currently no light fixtures in the living room or bedrooms, not even switches connected to electrical outlets. We want to run electric so we can put up lights and ceiling fans, but we are curious how much it costs. We have two friends who are apprentices in an electrician union and say this is not a hard job, so we could save cash by going through them but do you think it's safe? I don't know how experienced one needs to be to do this............
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Old 12-17-2007, 05:54 PM
735 posts, read 3,154,674 times
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materials alone could very well be hundreds- even thousands if you run into issues.

Running wire up and over through ceilings also can be difficult- not to mention- destructive. All the patching work needed afterwards also needs to be considered.

I would have your panel checked out first to see how many added fixtures it can handle. Then start to price out materials.

good luck!
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Old 12-17-2007, 06:06 PM
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My in-laws rewired their 1920's farm house 15 years ago and it was $2500 for the entire job. We upgraded to 200 amp service in our last house and that was $1200 with a few smaller jobs added in, adding some outlets, converting some outlets to GFC and installing a few fixtures/fans.

I would only use a licensed electrician for a big job like this. You will have to meet city inspections and code and they might not accept the work of an apprentice. You can call your city hall and check into that though.
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Old 12-17-2007, 06:27 PM
Location: Jax
8,204 posts, read 31,555,612 times
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I agree with the above posters.

Maybe your friends could have a more experienced electrician work on the job with them and you could save some money that way?

Where I am in FL, an older home has to go through an insurance inspection when you purchase an older home or switch homeowner insurance companies. If the electric is not up to snuff, they can ask you to rewire ("ask" as in "no insurance of you don't" ).
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Old 12-17-2007, 10:20 PM
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If this is a 2 story house and there are rooms above then it's probably going to cost more because it will be harder to run the wires. A one story home will be cheaper because they can run the majority of the lines in the attic. But you should get someone that's licensed because you'll probably have to upgrade the panel box (like the other posters mentioned)
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Old 12-18-2007, 01:45 PM
Location: Sometimes Maryland, sometimes NoVA. Depends on the day of the week
1,501 posts, read 10,537,303 times
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What year are they in the apprenticeship program? Are they doing residential or commercial training? I wouldn't get a 1st year commercial apprentice to run new residential wiring. But my husband's company had him running his own residential service truck (with a helper under him) in his 4th year of apprenticeship. He did mostly ceiling fans, troubleshooting circuits, installing fixtures. Not many service changes or tricky stuff. But I wouldn't rule them out just because they are electricians.

As for running the electric itself. That will depend on what is above the rooms. If you have open attic above the rooms, then putting in switched and ceiling boxes should not be that hard at all. If these are lower level rooms, then you run into issues with lots of holes for the wire fishing, issues running through joists, etc. Oh, and if the house is old enough to be plaster, then you will have a huge mess on your hands. Repairing a hole in drywall is pretty easy, but plaster is much more of a pain.

Like a couple other people said, it will also depend on your service and the panel box. If the house has been upgraded to 200 amp service, then you should be fine. But if you need to upgrade the box, then I would go with someone licensed who can pull the permit (if needed) and deal with the power company.

Costs will vary considerably depending on where you live, the prevailing labor rate, and the amount of labor needed (i.e. attic above vs. finished space above)
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Old 12-19-2007, 06:57 PM
Location: New York, Westchester
506 posts, read 2,002,483 times
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Default this is a very easy job...

it is just messy........and you won't need to update the panel.....all you need is 1 more 15 amp circuit per floor.....if they have any knowledge in electrical work it is easy to do......................any ? pm me.........good luck
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Old 12-20-2007, 06:55 AM
Location: DC Area, for now
3,517 posts, read 11,795,996 times
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It is an easy job so long as the service panel is of adequate size and it is messy and a pain in the neck to fish wires. BUT, it is critical that the electric building code be followed and the OP didn't seem to be one to tackle the job themselves and learn the needed code and skills.

Of course, every time I look at something electrical in my house that had passed inspection, I am appalled at all the code violations and stupid things that were done. Same thing for the structural things too.
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Old 12-20-2007, 04:38 PM
Location: Sometimes Maryland, sometimes NoVA. Depends on the day of the week
1,501 posts, read 10,537,303 times
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Originally Posted by Tesaje View Post
Of course, every time I look at something electrical in my house that had passed inspection, I am appalled at all the code violations and stupid things that were done. Same thing for the structural things too.
My husband says the SAME THING! We just demo'ed our bathroom for a remodel, and he was shocked at some of the stuff he saw. Very obvious violations, like fixtures put up with the wrong box (or no box at all!). And yet, he completely stresses when he has an inspection LOL
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Old 12-22-2007, 03:28 PM
3,020 posts, read 23,068,533 times
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Default apprentices should be able to handle the job.

If the apprentices have the basic knowledge and some reasonable work experience they should be able to handle the job. Most just work under some Master license anyway, that person should be inspecting and supervising in some manner.

A lot depends on the general condition of the service. A lot of older houses need to be completely redone. I redid mine myself, it was all legal, the county has no permit requirements, you coordinate it thru the power company.

A complete rip out and new service panel (200 amps) and good rewire ran me ~$800 for materials. Today that might cost $2500 as material costs have gone out of sight, especially the copper wire.

I would be wary mixing up lots of old wire with new work. Lots of horrible old wiring around. Back in the old days, a house had a radio and a few lights. The wiring runs used a "Common Neutral" for way too many circuits. They ran a hot wire for each circuit but "Shared" the return neutral which sort of works for lightly loaded circuits like back in the old days. Lots of the service panels are also jury rigged, my old one was badly messed up with jumper wires across all fuses on the outlet sides. Might as well not have fuses.

I would start with a good inspection of the incoming service. What is it rated for? The main panel fuses / breakers is not a good indication. Determine the size of the service cable and go from that, it is not just a question of adding more circuits, the main service must be of proper size. Mine wound up being rated for 300 amps because they didn't have any 00 cable when I when to buy it and had to get the next size up.

As mentioned you typically do rewire work from the attic down or basement up and fish thru the walls. On the first floor, you do need to chop a small hole at the ceiling / wall junction and it is best to patch that with a plaster mix, then mesh and drywall mud. Pretty standard if you have done it.

That old rayon or rubber covered wire can be a killer. Good number of house fires around me, many are electrical in starting source. The last thing you want is a jury rigged wiring system. A complete rip out is the way to go in many old houses with a good installation by somebody who knows what they are doing. Yep, I've seen my share of horrible stuff that passed inspections. World ain't like it used to was.

Wiring, plumbing and heating should be ripped out and total replace / major upgrade every 50 years or so. Most old houses are due, today the major upgrades are tricky because of the cost of materials / labor if you have to pay retail. Can very easily get more money into the shack than you ever will get back.
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