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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Location
    Houston, TX
    Posts
    249

    Default Old house adding new circuits

    I am in the process of replacing the "safer mistakes" in my turn of the century Victorian. The poor old girl came to my care with Federal Pacific boxes in the house and garage and a hodgepodge of modern romex, cloth wrapped romex(without ground of course) and a little bit of knob and tube remaining per my electrician.
    The pro has already handled replacing my main breaker box and my service and will handle the knob and tube in time, but I am tackling the new stupid maneuvers made during bad remodeling work in the last 30 years or so.
    First to be tackled is four new circuits where I think/know there should be dedicated circuits.
    1) refrigerator
    2) dishwasher and disposal(I know they are supposed to have their own circuits, but I might just run 10-2 on a 30amp breaker to save the open spaces in my box
    3) & 4) front porch and back deck, which will have fans and Christmas lights run from them as well as the electric lawnmower/string trimmer/leaf blower
    Fortunately all of these locations are on the first floor, and since I live in a pier and beam house, I can reach any of these through the floor with a drill and some careful planning.
    What I am not positive is how to run my wiring under the house. I believe the electrical code says exposed romex is allowed in uninhabited spaces, and the only things that inhabit my crawl space are weeds and those giant frightening cockroaches that like to populate Houston. The question is, am I pushing my luck if I just run exposed romex stapled under my joists, the farthest distance being to my front porch which I think is about 75 ft?
    Am I better off running my line inside of that lovely grey pvc and strapping that to my joists(while I'm at it strapping my hodgepodge of plumbing lines in more locations, the prior plumbing is just as bad as the electrical)?
    My concerns are not making the inspector flip out and make me do more work when I sell the place as well as not doing anything that will make the place burn to the ground.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Houston Texas
    Posts
    2,509

    Default Re: Old house adding new circuits

    1- good idea

    2- depends on your local code. We run a single 20amp 12-2 and share it between the DW and GD. A double circuit 20amp 12-3 is a nice alternative.

    3- I too live in a pier and beam house. I use those wires stapled to the joists to help hold the insulation in place. When running parallel with the joists the wires are mid joist and not on the bottom. We foster Jack Russells and have had no problems in 15 years. We send a home run to a junction box in the center of each room, then come off the junction box to each outlet separately. This eliminates 'daisy chaining' and allows for easy future changes. Lighting is all done from the attic on their own circuit. Outlets from below with a dedicated line for each room.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Location
    Houston, TX
    Posts
    249

    Default Re: Old house adding new circuits

    Thanks HR. If you are in the city limits, we may not be too far apart as I am in the Heights.

    I had not thought of the 12-3 for the dishwasher/disposal purpose, I am still cursing the installer of my ceiling fans for not installing 12/3 and ripping out the cloth romex but I digress . . .

    Good to know about how you did your wiring under the house, insulation is yet another project I want to tackle in the attic and underneath, I was actually considering the daisy-chain method you mentioned but had not gotten that far yet.

    Now as for the terriers, I won't let my wife read this thread because she may just want another one. It is loads of fun playing mind games with mine while I am working under the house and she is inside. She never can seem to find me . . .

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Columbiana, Alabama
    Posts
    644

    Default Re: Old house adding new circuits

    Function, the DW & GD should not be on a 30A circuit and can actually be on the same 20A circuit but if the DW is run in the drying mode while the GW is running doing so may actually trip a single 20A breaker.

    The better approach would be the multi-wire branch circuit suggested by HR.

    I too prefer HR's homerun in PVC to a central JB under a house where it can feed up to four 20A branch circuits in one conduit using THHN wire.

    This method enables the conduit to run at right angles to the floor joists without having to be stapled to running boards. Rodents can't nibble on the PVC either!
    Good Luck from Columbiana, Alabama
    Maurice Turgeon, Hidden Content

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Location
    Houston, TX
    Posts
    249

    Default Re: Old house adding new circuits

    Oh the joys of crawling under the house.

    The cloth wrapped 14-2 is in decent shape almost everywhere, but has no ground, so unfortunately it simply has to go.
    In one place the line feeding a receptacles is just hanging free, no staples, waiting for some schmuck crawling under the house to get caught on it.
    Near the breaker panel I find the 220 line feeding the AC condenser has been tapped into with a few loose strands of 12-2 wire to feed the outdoor receptacle, and the splice is not in a box, just hanging out with some electrical tape over it.

    Good news is since the house is on it's second wiring, most of the receptacles have been wired from underneath, meaning I have holes to fish the new line through, that just means I only have to do the fenangling of adding a few more receptacles.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    SoCal
    Posts
    5,441

    Default Re: Old house adding new circuits

    If you run your wire under the joists, use outdoor romax (grey), if allowed.
    When stapling it to the joists be careful not to pierce it.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Location
    Canada
    Posts
    86

    Default Re: Old house adding new circuits

    Quote Originally Posted by function View Post
    Oh the joys of crawling under the house.

    The cloth wrapped 14-2 is in decent shape almost everywhere, but has no ground, so unfortunately it simply has to go.
    In one place the line feeding a receptacles is just hanging free, no staples, waiting for some schmuck crawling under the house to get caught on it.
    Near the breaker panel I find the 220 line feeding the AC condenser has been tapped into with a few loose strands of 12-2 wire to feed the outdoor receptacle, and the splice is not in a box, just hanging out with some electrical tape over it.

    Good news is since the house is on it's second wiring, most of the receptacles have been wired from underneath, meaning I have holes to fish the new line through, that just means I only have to do the fenangling of adding a few more receptacles.
    Which is why permits and inspections ARE a good thing. To ensure electrical work is done properly and safely along with your house insurance not being cancelled.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Houston Texas
    Posts
    2,509

    Default Re: Old house adding new circuits

    I'm in the Heights right near Reagan High. If you were around during Allison you'll know if you flood or not. We had water within a few inches of our electric.

    We like those staples with the brown plastic grommet on them to shield the romex.

    We also use a sharpie to clearly write on each wire what it is every few feet. Write large enough so as the ink grows over time its still legible.

    While upgrading your electric, think about adding an outlet so you can plug your generator into your house.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Location
    Houston, TX
    Posts
    249

    Default Re: Old house adding new circuits

    Quote Originally Posted by HoustonRemodeler View Post
    I'm in the Heights right near Reagan High. If you were around during Allison you'll know if you flood or not. We had water within a few inches of our electric.

    We like those staples with the brown plastic grommet on them to shield the romex.

    We also use a sharpie to clearly write on each wire what it is every few feet. Write large enough so as the ink grows over time its still legible.

    While upgrading your electric, think about adding an outlet so you can plug your generator into your house.
    I'm almost on top if I10, and the whole area was actually dry during Allison per the neighbors. The guy across the street walked onto I10 to ride his bicycle every day.
    I actually usually use the cheap white plastic with two nails because I never bought a big stapler, I am very careful with those nail points on them.
    Great points with the writing of the function of each wire, I will definitely do that where I have parallel runs.
    Still on the fence about the generator, I know I am one storm away from making up my mind. Of course then it will be too late.

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