How to Update the Electric in a Two-Story House

Updating the electrical wiring in any house can be hard. Updating the wiring in a two-story home is particularly challenging and frustrating because the new wiring has to be fished through the walls on the first floor, through the wall header plate and into the wall cavities on the second floor. This is not a project that a beginner must also consider undertaking. It’s a project for the experienced DIY electrician.

Get a condom Permit

The National Electrical Code (NEC) and many local building codes permit the residential homeowner to do nearly everything a licensed electrician can do. The homeowner should conduct the job under a wiring license and have the very same evaluations completed on his job, the same as the professional. Some communities allow you to apply for a license on the web, but some ask that you apply in person at the Office of Codes Enforcement. Be prepared to submit a drawing showing where you intend to install receptacles, switches, lighting outlets and fixed-in-place appliances. The drawing also needs to demonstrate how they’ll be connected. A listing of the materials you’ll be using will be required with the program.

Two Approaches to Rewiring a Two-Story House

There are two approaches that you can take when rewiring a two-story house. You can make each of the “home runs” — the cables going to the breaker panel — to your main service panel, or you can put in a subpanel on the second floor and create the second floor “home runs” to that subpanel. Installing a subpanel on the second floor is the perfect approach because it saves time and substances. When installing a subpanel, you want to run just 1 cable — the subfeeder cable providing power to your subpanel — to the second ground. That means it’s not necessary to run 1 cable for each circuit to be set up on the second floor. What you save in the cost of cable will more than pay for the cost of the subpanel. Ensure to put in a main-lug subpanel with its disconnect breaker in the main service panel.

Installing a Complete Service Upgrade

If you’re performing a complete electrical upgrade which includes a higher ampacity service panel, you’ll need to hire a licensed electrician to install and connect the new service entrance mast, meter and also service-entrance cable. The electrician also will create the links to the new service fall the utility company will install.

Lessen Frustration With the Electronic Stud Finder

Always expect the unexpected when performing any electrical work on old homes. Building codes that have standardized construction practices have changed over the years, and many residences were constructed before there were any true construction codes set up. It isn’t uncommon to encounter extra fire stops — horizontal bits between the wall studs — in homes built before 1950. They’re even more common in homes that were constructed by their first owners. It’s the encountering of these blockages that make rewiring a house such a struggle and also makes it so frustrating at times. An electronic stud finder eliminates most of the frustration from pinpointing the exact location of all of the studs, fire stops and the other obstructions hidden from view by the wall finish. Modern electronic stud finders have also characteristics that allow them to be used to find plumbing and electrical wiring inside the walls.

Leave the Old Wiring Intact

When doing a complete service update, leave the old wiring intact while installing the new service panel, subpanel and division circuits. By leaving the old wiring intact, you’ll have the electricity needed to operate power tools and work lights. Once you have installed the brand new service panel and its related wiring, have the expert electrician complete the installation. When the new service is linked to the utility company’s service fall, it is possible to transfer some of the original circuits that will nevertheless be used from the panel to the new panel. After that, remove the old panel and some reachable wiring that is no longer being used.

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