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        Questions about some electrical rewiring Sign In/Join 
        posted
        Hello people,

        I'm doing a little bit of research into a DIY house upgrade. I believe my house was built in the 1970s, and there are two things I'd like to upgrade in the house:
        1) Insulation
        2) Electrical

        Insulation is pretty self explanatory since the drywall is all full of holes and patching putty from the POs and my own family (we've owned the house for 20 years now) - strip the dry wall, add the insulation, new drywall, paint.

        The electrical is where I had the questions - I want to DIY reroute the electrical system into our garage (Yes, I want to move the entire breaker box). I'm assuming I will have to contact PG&E (local electrical co) for the final step - rerouting the main/primary line from the old breaker box to the new one, but first I want to reroute all the electricity in the house.

        My reasons:
        My primary concern is that the electrical routing in the house seems to be overloaded - I find that I have to run out to the breaker box more and more often because someone runs the microwave, oven, 5 computers, two hair driers, etc etc... Oh yeah, and there's also the issue of the house having mostly two prong power outlets, and the three prong power outlets don't have proper grounding on the third ( middle, round ) prong. While I'm at it, I want to run another couple of 220 lines to the garage for the drier and for my own purposes (such as a welding apparatus =) and leave some room to add another 220 that will run out to a shed that we (read: I) have in the works, right before I get screamed at by the women of the house that I'm destroying their garden with my manly sheds.

        I figure, since I'm already stripping out the drywall, why not do the electrical rerouting at the same time? it will save me the trouble of probing the wall, guessing and hoping that I punch holes in the right location, and just give me a little more room to work with.

        I'm pretty sure I'll have to contact my electrical company, maybe my city office, and potentially an electrician or two as well to get some quotes (read: free advice), but I figure, the more information I can get before I do that, the better the questions I can ask them while I'm talking to them. That's where this board comes into play:

        My questions:
        What exactly is the third prong connected to? The two prongs are positive and ground, and I'm assuming that the third prong is not the same grounding wire. It's been a while since I've done any electrical work in a house ( 15 years? ) so I don't actually remember if the electrical cables that run through the walls are 3 wire or two wire, and I have absolutely no idea where the third prong is supposed to be connected to. I've heard you can just pig tail it to a metal box, but that means that the electrical boxes have to all be somehow linked to together right? An electrician I talked to said some people went about grounding the third prong by pig tailing the prong down to the ground and digging it into the ground, but he essentially waved that off as useless.
        Are there any safety considerations and/or disaster proofing that I can/should do? External power wires are usually encased in a China-steel conduit, do I need to run said conduit through the walls as well?
        Is there any benefit to running the power above, or below the house? I'd prefer to run it through the attic, because I have going down into the crawlspace (really dirty down there, and tons of junk - a separate project altogether leaning that up).

        Thanks in advance,

        Misha
         
        Posts: 1 | Registered: Mar 26, 2014Reply With QuoteReport This Post
        posted Hide Post
        you will need a licensed local electrician to survey the job, and provide an estimate and references. permits. wire to code. coordinate with the inspector and utility. get the grounds right.

        entrances are NOT DIY.


        sig: if this is a new economy, how come they still want my old-fashioned money?
         
        Posts: 5724 | Location: North Burbs, MN | Registered: Mar 14, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
        Picture of Jaybee
        posted Hide Post
        OK, I will say this gently, since you have asked for advice and answers:

        1. This is not a DIY project, even for a semi-skilled in electrical stuff type homeowner.
        2. From your questions, you are not semi-skilled.
        3. In most locations, it will take a licensed electrician to pull the permits to do this.
        4. This is a major electrical project. You are correct in that you are making it easier (and even financially possible) by removing the drywall, but moving a service location is major.
        5. To put #4 into perspective - I'm a general contractor, I've got a lot of electrical experience - even worked as an electrical engineer in my 'former life". I would subcontract this type project out if it was my house.

        That's it. Do the drywall work or whatever you feel comfortable with, but get an electrician to do this part of your project.


        Jaybee
         
        Posts: 10298 | Location: Knoxville, Tennessee | Registered: Sep 27, 2003Reply With QuoteReport This Post
        posted Hide Post
        The first step is to call your power company and tell them you are thinking of moving the service entry. They will send someone to look and discuss the situation. And when I've done it, they always bring a wealth of paperwork they will give to you for free. They will also tell you what you will need to do for proper grounding requirements (google Ufer), but your location might be different.

        Just last fall, I had them show up to see about firing up the box for a foreclosed home. Due to the length of the overhead wire, they had special requirements for support of the mast -- so their guy handed me their newest mini book. I did have to make sure he wasn't wanting it back, and that I wasn't going to get a large bill in the mail.

        It will give you a good study guide so you can talk intelligently with an electrician -- and what order the work needs to get accomplished in. I do my own service entry boxes, but I agree with the others, it definitely sounds as you should hire this out.

        This message has been edited. Last edited by: Re-mdlr,
         
        Posts: 949 | Location: No. California | Registered: Mar 24, 2004Reply With QuoteReport This Post
        posted Hide Post
        different areas have different requirements. if I was to call the power company here in the twin cities like re-mdlr suggests, they'd flat out tell me to get an electrician. just this morning, with no real weather, they had over 12 crews out on outages during rush hour, and the one I drove by on the way to work had 6 emergency vehicles blocking a stretch of road.

        they don't have time to hand-hold. they expect a licensed, competent pro to be dealing with a job like this, where they're going to have to send a truck and lineman around to pull the meter in the morning, and one or two to restring to the pole if needed when it's time to plug a meter in the new mast and socket. there is a fee each trip, and a huge whack in the wallet if they find a cut seal on the meter box.

        just saying. a small town power garage or REC may react differently, depends on workload and the code enforcement situation. but utilities don't want to open the door for anybody's lawyers down the road.

        bad wiring kills.

        This message has been edited. Last edited by: swschrad,


        sig: if this is a new economy, how come they still want my old-fashioned money?
         
        Posts: 5724 | Location: North Burbs, MN | Registered: Mar 14, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
        posted Hide Post
        LOL, swschrad, of course we in california are trying to remember to buy sunscreen -- I think you guys are still fighting that winter you've had. And we have had a real lack of water in every form.

        And in California, a homeowner can do their own electrical work, and they need a permit. So it's not 'hand-holding' as much as proper planning since it's the electrical company that will have to move the wires to the new location.

        This message has been edited. Last edited by: Re-mdlr,
         
        Posts: 949 | Location: No. California | Registered: Mar 24, 2004Reply With QuoteReport This Post
        Picture of Jaybee
        posted Hide Post
        Interesting differences, especially since I usually assume that the codes in CA are much more strict.

        As a General Contractor, I cannot pull an electrical permit - not even for my own house. It's got to be done by a licensed electrician.


        Jaybee
         
        Posts: 10298 | Location: Knoxville, Tennessee | Registered: Sep 27, 2003Reply With QuoteReport This Post
        posted Hide Post
        re-mdlr, I think that Washington has a little rain they can spare you. it does come with some contamination, though... cities, citizens, mud, lots of mud, maybe Hanford radwaste... and surely something in there is "known to the State of California to cause cancer...".

        so there you have it, DIYers... proof that to meet code, you have to talk with your LOCAL inspector.


        sig: if this is a new economy, how come they still want my old-fashioned money?
         
        Posts: 5724 | Location: North Burbs, MN | Registered: Mar 14, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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