Okay, in this thread I talk about upgrading my outlets and installing a new sub breaker box in order to accomodate some electrical goodies that I plan on putting into a room that I am rebuilding inside my house. I have a blank slate as far as this room is concerned. Hell, I barely have walls. But atleast I have the freedom to mold the room into exactly what I want it to be. My evil high tech lair.
It wasn’t long into the thread before I realized my achilles tendon: the old wiring. It is now apparent to me that I have to take a couple steps back before I do anything else.
Little background. My house was built in 1895. It is as sturdy as Fort Knox. The foundation at the base is something like 38 inches wide. Some plumbing and asbestos problems (removed) withstanding, we got a good deal on it. The only problem is that the wife and I are starting from the ground as far as rebuilding the inside. Very little, excluding the walls, but including the beautiful woodwork, is salvageable. Oh joy. But it’s a labor of love, definitely. I finally have a hobby. I don’t have hot water, but I atleast have a hobby.
The original wiring is Knob And Tube. How do I know this? Because some of the knobs are still bolted to the rafters in the basement. But sometime before the 1960s, the wiring was upgraded to two conductor, no ground, PVC wire. That is what I have in my house right now.
I plan on a lot of nice upgrades: recessed lighting, brand new grounded outlets, you know, the works. From what I understand, this type of wiring is grandfathered in under all of the new building and safety codes. I’ll be sure to tell that to my wife as we’re fleeing our bonfire of a house at 2 am. Really, Honey, it’s okay.
One bonus. Before we moved in, we had a brand new 200 amp breaker box installed in the basement. Unfortunately, it is the only grounded electrical item in the house. All of the wires coming out of it are two conductor.
Tearing into what existing walls we have is not a problem. The problem is that I have seen first hand some of the wiring in this house, and it resembles a spider web. I can isolate individual branches and maybe update them one by one. But as soon as I go one level deeper than that, it is apparent that the whole system will need to be replaced all at the same time. This is something that I neither have the time nor the money to accomplish, atleast in its entirety by the Spring. Plus it is out of the question to shut the power off to the house for more than a couple hours at a time.
[li]Exactly how dangerous is this two conductor, no ground, wiring?[/li][li]What must I replace?[/li][li]Would an extension of an existing wiring system, using new wires, still fall within the safety standard?[/li][li]How do you ground a three prong outlet with only two wires?[/li][/ul]