Monday, January 31, 2011

Rewiring the Entire House

When we bought the house, it still had its original knob and tube wiring.  This type of wiring was installed in houses between the 1880's and the 1930's.  The wires were added before plastic was invented, and the wires were covered with cloth instead of plastic for insulation.  The cloth had worn down over time and was frayed and gone in places exposing bare wire.  Since them, the house had wiring added over the years as needed for lights and and outlets.  The wiring was in very poor condition, and did not look like it was professionally done.  Needless to say, it was a major fire hazard.

This does not look very safe.

The electric panels were also very old and completely insufficient for the load requirements of modern appliances.  Originally the house had a 70 Amp and a 100 Amp panel; one for each apartment.  We replaced the old panels with two modern 200 Amp panels.  The 200 Amp panels will be sufficient for the new central heat and air conditioning system and the electric hot water heaters.

Old electric panel
Since the house was being rewired, we added wiring for tankless electric hot water heaters.  Tankless electric hot water heaters provide instant, unlimited hot water, and they take up very little space and don't require venting like that gas ones do.  We also wanted to save energy, so no water will be heated unless it is needed.

During the rewiring, we decided to add some recessed lights in the downstairs kitchen, living room, and bathroom.  The downstairs level has shorter ceilings, so the recessed lights will provide lighting without taking up ceiling space.  We also had most rooms wired for ceiling fans with separate switches for lights.  The ceiling fans will help reduce air conditioning costs.

New yellow wires next to old knob and tube wire.

There is still lots more to do before the final electrical finish out, but the wiring is finally taking place.

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