Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Electricians, plumbers, and more...

The electricians have started today. They are rewiring the entire house. The house currently has a 100AMP fuse box (plus a 600V, 60AMP, 3-phase panel with separate service in the back school rooms, see previous posts if you're confused by the use of the term 'school-room' for our house). Most of the wiring is currently knob-and-tube (which is an insurance no-no, especially since ours is not in very good shape), but we also have some mixed-in DIY wiring, circa 1960s, which is really not safe or to code. We are having our service moved so we don't have our meter in the driveway, getting a new 200AMP breaker panel, and the entire house wiring will be replaced. These guys are really good at what they do, they snake wires through the walls, drill very small holes where necessary, and have promised not to harm our original wood trim.

In addition to the main house rewire, they are removing the 3-phase panel in the school house, and replacing it with a feeder panel (60AMP) from the main service. This makes Ottawa Hydro happy since when they came out to look at our service relocate, they freaked out when they found out we have a second service coming into those back buildings. They were even more surprised to find out it's 3-phase. The electricians have pulled all the necessary permits, are on the ACP (approved contractor program) with the ESA, and are bringing the house fully up to code (GFCIs, AFCIs where required, etc...).

We also had our hot water radiator system drained today so the plumbers could remove some rads that we need relocated, and some others that have to come off so we can refinish the flooring on the main level. It was cold in here for about 3-4 hours, but now that the system is restored, it's not bad at all. I'm sure our gas bill was big for today though.

In other news, some of our new kitchen appliances arrived today (still in wrap so we don't damage them with all the other work going on), we have a working toilet and taps in a bathroom (the 3rd floor carpeted one), and the second floor bathroom is more or less ready to be put back together.

Also, the electricians discovered that our house is balloon-framed, which means the outer-wall studs go from the foundation all the way up to the attic (with new ones tied into the lower ones as you go up). This makes the electricians happy since they can snake wires up through the walls from basement to 3rd floor without hitting floor framing. The main difference between this style of construction over the modern framing style, is that in modern framing, the outer stud walls are constructed floor by floor, with the floor framing between them, whereas in balloon framing the floor joists are hung off the wall studs and the wall cavities aren't interrupted by each floor's framing. It also provides nice cavities from attic to foundation for blown in cellulose insulation which explains why our house is fully insulated without a lot of replaced bricks.

Sorry for the long post without a lot of pictures. I'm going to try to get the second floor plan up on the blog shortly.


  1. If you don't mind me asking, how much did upgrading to 200amp service run? We are thinking about going from 100 to 200 as well and I'm curious what the costs are.

  2. The cost of a 100 to 200 amp upgrade is hard to break out of our whole house rewire. It also depends on the cost of your hydro utility for their work. Assume a new panel, rewiring that panel to your existing wiring and a new service upgrade and you're probably looking at a few thousand in our area. If you to upgrade your wiring like we then the cost is much much more.
    It is usually free to get quotes on the work, so your best bet is to ask some electricians to come in and look at the work involved.