Late last year I started updating Electricals in our 1900s Foursquare. Over the 100+ years of this historical house, many families have lived and of course they have done their share of updates to the House’s electrical system. When I began, the house had approx. 70-80% of the wiring in the form of dreaded Knob & Tube wiring. Updates made by previous owners had resulted in a mix of all kinds of wiring – K&T, NM and even BX – resulting in a hodge-podge. During the purchase of the house, we had the house inspection done and of course this came up in the inspection report as well. Therefore, I knew from the very beginning what we were getting ourselves into. However, since we wanted an older house in Historical district of Fort Wayne, IN, it was expected to have such flaws in electrical wiring, i.e. not uncommon to see K&T. But after the purchase in October, I was determined to take care of updating the Electricals. I had set myself following goals:
- 100% elimination of K&T or BX, and only NM cable throughout the house
- Replacing existing in-wall Light Switches to Smart Switches
- Installing GFCI receptacles where code requires
- Adding new outlets in several much needed areas throughout the house
- Finally, the big one to upgrade the Electrical panel to 200A service since the current 100A panel is maxed out
Obviously, I left #5 to the pros as I don’t like to mess with Service panels. Since it’s also most expensive, I am saving it for 2018.
So, what about the rest of the goals?
100% elimination of K&T or BX, and only NM cable throughout the house
As of today, I am happy to report that our house is now 75% on NM cable and only 25% of K&T is remaining. This 25% is equal to only 2 circuits in the house with K&T and it’s mostly lighting. That’s a phenomenal progress! Looking forward to 100% completion in 2018. Then I can rest assured that house wiring is safe and can hopefully last another 100 years.
Replacing existing in-wall Light Switches to Smart Switches
I am very much into Smart devices. Ever since we got our first smart device – the Nest Thermostat, I had been wanting to get into Smart electrical switches. Then when I was doing the Kitchen renovation last year, I installed the first ever smart light switch in the Kitchen. Paired it with Wink Hub and it was an instant joy! Fast forward today, we have a total of 15 smart switches including a couple of dimmers as well. This total is 65% of our light switches in the house! The remaining will be replaced by smart switches soon. One of the reason why there is still 35% remaining is because most of these switches are part of the 2 circuits still on K&T. In traditional K&T, switches do not have a neutral wire and these smart switches require a neutral wire. Therefore, usually when I replace K&T wiring I also change all the connected switches to smart switches. So this one also a goal for 2018 to finish up.
Aside from these smart switches, I have 1 smart outlet as well. This is installed in a strategic location in the Kitchen I call “Crockpot Area”. As the name might suggest, the intent is to have a Crockpot running off this smart outlet and I can schedule this outlet to automatically turn off through Wink!
Installing GFCI receptacles where code requires
We had several findings in the house inspection report at the time of purchase related to absence of GFCI receptacles in areas such as Kitchen, Basement and Garage. As of today, I am complete with installing those wherever they were noted in the report.
Adding new outlets in several much needed areas throughout the house
Quite a lot of work done in this regard:
- 5 new outlets in Living Room
- 2 new outlets in Kitchen
- 1 new outlet in Stairway Upstairs
- 1 new GFCI outlet on Front Porch
Also, did several corrections:
- Removed all Baseboard outlets. Why in the world would someone ruin gorgeous Baseboards by installing outlets there!
- Installed new in-wall electrical boxes wherever there were none. That’s right, there were outlets with no boxes!
- Corrected bootlegging. I just cannot believe this was done by knowledgeable electricians! It’s extremely dangerous. So, when I replaced the wiring I connected the ground properly. Wherever, I could not install new wire, I changed the outlet to 2-prong instead of 3-prong with dangerous Bootlegged ground.
Overall, 2017 was a great year to make these electrical updates to the house and in 2018, hopefully I will complete rest of the updates.