Peter McCarthy Electric Co., Inc. - Specializing in Older Buildings in Chicago
Adventures in Old House Wiring....

Total Re-wire on Kimbark Avenue

Hyde Park Chicago ElectricianHyde Park Chicago ElectricianHyde Park Chicago ElectricianWe are in the process of rewiring this vintage condo on the corner of 57th and Kimbark in Chicago.

Hyde Park Chicago ElectricianIt has suffered from technical obsolescence in wiring, to say the least. Most of the branch circuits were cloth-covered wire, leftover from the original 1920s installation. This cloth wire has aged very poorly, as I have noted in other places in this blog, and my customer was very wise to have it replaced. We are doing a full rewire on this unit, which entails replacing all the cloth-covered wire with new copper THHN wire. We are adding the AFCI circuit for the bedrooms as mandated by the Chicago electrical code as well as adding a dedicated 20-Amp circuit for the washroom receptacle (also a code requirement), installing new outlets and an additional 20-Amp circuit for window air conditioners, and replacing the shallow ceiling "plate boxes" with fully approved 40lb rated ceiling fan boxes where the fans will go. (Second picture from top) In the long hallway we converted the overhead light from just being switched at one location in the middle of the hall (who decided to put it there?) to being switched at both ends of the hall. This three way switching allows you to turn on the light before you enter the hallway (novel idea, eh?) and then shut it off when you exit the hallway. Smarter than the average bear, I'd say. We did the same thing for the dining room overhead lite. We are adding lights to the closets, a hard-wired smoke detector (again code requirement when you re-do the electrical system) and converting some fixtures that had been on pull chains to being controlled by wall switches. We even discovered some long buried sconce lights on the living room wall.  (Third picture from top) This whole job will take about a week. Note the cuts we have to make to fish in the new wiring. (Bottom picture) We essentially "weave" the flexible conduit through the pockets of space between the 2x4s that frame the wall, passing over them at the locations where you see the cut-outs. The flexible conduit can pass over the front of the 2x4 because we have a gap of about 1 1/2" to work with. The lathe takes up about 3/8-1/2" of space and then the plaster takes up another probably 1/2' - 5/8" inch of space. So we can cut a notch in the plaster, cut out a small section of the lathe that passes over the stud, and viola! A place to run the wiring! We strap it securely to the face of the stud, and later it can be plastered over and you would never know we were there. Notice that the first thing we do when we start this type of job is to completely cover the entire surface of the floor with heavy protective paper, and we tape all the seams, as well as tape it to the baseboards. That is to capture absolutely as much of the falling dirt, dust and plaster as possible. The plaster, especially, is very abrasive. Small chunks that fall on a finished floor can easily gouge the floor surface. Nobody wants that!
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