The most asked question of me is, “Do you think my electrical wiring needs to be replaced?” My answer to that may be yes if you do not have a ground wire to your outlets in your home. These days it will be in the building codes that you have a ground wiring system. This prevents some on the electrical surges through your wiring.
You need to start with assessing each room as to what you have and what you need as far as outlets go. Add up what you have and what you want. Hold onto that figure for a moment.
Now go through and check on the switches throughout your house. What would you like to do different? Do you want dimmers on your ceiling lights and fans? Do you need more lighting or better lighting? Do you want to do away with all those lamps? Is your hallway too dark? These are a few questions you may want to ask yourself. Write anything down that comes to mind and decide upon what you want to do about it.
Let me generalize this for you. Let us say that you have a ceiling fan in every room. Dimmer switches would be great for them. If they have lighting, you can wire that separately with a dimmer switch as well. This way you can have your fan or light on separately without having to mess with those chains. You don’t have ceiling fans? They are not all that difficult to install. Just make certain that you have them braced in onto the beams in your ceiling.
Before we get too far along, let us talk shop. Once you determine what you want to do, measure up and over to where your fuse box is for each fixture, outlet, and switch. This will give you some idea of the cost for the electrical line. Actually, measure to the center of the room first, then to the fuse box. The other way will be too much line. Take your list to any home improvement store and explain what you want to do. Have one of their experts determine if your fuse box will be adequate enough for your add-ons. The fuse box may need to be replaced.
Your faceplates on the switches are easy to replace. You may want something different in each room to add to the flair of that particular space. You may want to replace one outlet in each room for a multi-outlet that has coaxial, electrical plug, and phone line all in one. That way you can have a television or computer connected to it along with your phone. These are just ideas.
If you are putting in new outlets you will need a coping saw to cut a hole in the wall for it. Make sure you are putting it up against a stud. Take a hammer and lightly tap the wall to locate the studs. You will hear the difference between the hollow area and where the stud is. Installing a new electrical box will require removing more of the sheetrock so you can nail in the new electrical box. You may not have to cut out anything for an electrical box in your ceiling. Those can be worked on from inside of the attic.
Speaking of attics, did you think of installing an attic fan? This would greatly improve your electric bill. If you have a large home, install two of them. The return vents can be placed in your hallways with the attic fans right above them. These are a great way to save money in the long run.
Did you ever get all that wiring replaced? It isn’t all that hard, and you don’t need the tubing for it that you saw in the store unless you would be violating building codes in your area. That is another issue. Do not attempt to replace the electrical wiring going to the post outside. This needs to be done by a professional licensed electrician. Not only would you be fined, you may find that you are severely shocked by the voltage flowing through it. Don’t be a hero.
Also, before you change out any wiring, make certain the electricity is turned off. Nobody is perfect. Do not take the chance of not losing your grip of a live wire. Keep it off and be safe.
An excellent mood light is the inset one you can have for your ceiling. They look like eyes in the ceiling. These are easy to install. Measure out to where you want them, and check in the attic to see if the placement of the light is intercepted by a ceiling beam. If it is, then either go to the trouble of securing both sides of the beam outside where the light will be, and cut out that section of it. I do not like to do that as it may interfere with the sturdiness of the house, so I adjust the measurement for symmetry reasons. This is also a good way to have movie lighting.
Sconce lights are a fantastic way to light up a hallway or foyer. Some are battery powered and don’t need an electrical line, but those are usually the ones that fall apart first. Some of them will actually plug into an outlet. You can install a single outlet just for this purpose.
If you are going to have a multi-media room, you may install an electrical outlet strip. Just make certain that it gets enough voltage to it.
Dryers take a 220 volt plug. You can recess these into the floor or wall so they will not stick out as they normally would.
Make sure that any outlets you install outside have covers for them as rain can get inside and short that electrical line out. Strategically placing them on the outside will keep you from having to re-plug your electric trimmers over and over.
When you are up in your attic, check all lines if you are not going to replace them. You may find some have been worn and do need replacing. This should not take more than 30 minutes of labor time for each line. You can update your electrical junction boxes if you do not feel safe with the metal ones you have. The plastic ones may cost a little bit more, but are well worth the safety.
That seems to cover most of the electrical issues with your home. Any more would just be superfluous. Take care and precautions when replacing wiring. Rubber gloves are a lifesaver when it comes to electricity. The only tools you may need are wire cutters, a phillip and flat head screwdriver, electrical tape, coping saw, and tape measure. Remember that you may need repair materials and paint for your walls and ceiling if you have to add anything. Good luck on your next project.