Friday, March 7, 2008


Reading back through this week's postings shows that it's been nothing but a lot of gloom and doom. Here's a bit of good news from the House of 42 Doors. By the end of the day, our last project of 2007 should be done. The house electrical has been updated, and all that's left is for the city inspector to come out, bless it and throw holy water on the service panel (figuratively). I'm almost certain he'll find nothing wrong. Our electrician has done an outstanding job and the city inspector is a very reasonable man. We've already dealt with him twice, once for the sewer work we did and again when we upgraded our electrical service from 100 amp to 200 amp and buried the overhead lines. I've got an appointment with him at the house today at 3:30.

So here's a rundown of what we did, how long it took and what it cost (roughly).

We were given an edict by the insurance company to replace the knob and tube wiring in the house as it was seen as a fire hazard. The house is two stories and also has a basement and a full walk up attic. The majority of the wiring in the house was the original knob and tube wiring, although the kitchen had been updated in the past. The house had four circuits - one for the basement, one for the main floor, one for the attic and top floor and one for the kitchen. The electrical service coming into the house was 100 amp overhead.

Here approximately is what we did.

  • We upgraded the service to 200 amp service and buried the line.
  • We had all knob and tube wiring in the basement, attic and second floor replaced.
  • We added 35 to 40 receptacles.
  • We added 15 to 20 light switches.
  • We added 10 to 15 lights.
  • We added 3 fire alarms.

Essentially, we ripped the guts out of a 2100 square foot house with mostly original electrical and updated it to meet modern day living. About 90% of the knob and tube wiring was replaced. The entire job took four months to complete, but a lot of that time was "dead" time, where our electrician was waiting for our lights to come in or working on other jobs. I don't actually know how many man hours went into the job, but if I had to guess, I'd say four to six weeks of solid work was done. The job came in about five to ten percent over the bid, but we did deviate from the original bid.

Overall, I'm absolutely thrilled with the project and the work. The knob and tube wiring that is left is minimal and only connects to a few lights. It is in the ceiling of the ground floor, so the only way to replace it would be to rip out the ceiling, which just is not an option. So long as we keep low wattage bulbs in those fixtures (75 watts or less), they won't be a problem at all.

Bids we got for the job ran between $9,000 (plus extra for certain options) and $17,000. That doesn't include light fixtures (which can bankrupt you if want it to). Our cost came in much closer to the low end.

So now that this is done, we need to close out the project with the state by sending them photographs of the house and the work done and copies of the bills. Then we can start planning for this year's projects...

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