Original panels

We finally have no old electrical in our house! When we bought the house, there were two panels for separate electrical service between the two floors. The whole thing was spliced and festooned with a mixture of wiring from various electrical epochs, like the strata of some ancient city. Much of the house was run with cloth-wrapped cable inside the flexible, coiled “BX” metal conduit. Our house inspector, and later our insurance inspector called it out as a risk. We knew from the start that we’d have to replace it all, but it’s been a long, gradual process. This process started with the basement demo, where I removed all manner of fire hazards. It continued with the first floor demo, then went back to the basement when we started our structural work, and jumped ahead with our new electrical service. It didn’t make a lot of progress for quite a while, but finally early last year we put in new electrical in the basement, got rid of more of the old stuff when we did the back porch demo, and most recently when we started on the second floor.

New panel and old panel

I disconnected the second floor electrical before we did demo, pulled out the majority of the BX cabling during demo, and finished shortly afterward, but there was still more to do. There were three BX cables and one conduit running up to the second floor, including two that ran up the back of the house (on the outside), requiring me to use the extension ladder to get them down. I had also left one BX cable with one outlet in place to service the first floor, but since that was fed off the old electrical panel box, it had to go too. There are now three separate extension cords running into the first floor from separate circuits, servicing the freezer, washer and dryer, as well as lighting/surge strip outlets.

New panel alone

This past weekend I got everything removed but the old electrical panel itself, which included several random junction boxes mounted around the panel and short lengths of BX cable connecting them all. The old electrical panel was itself only functioning as a junction box, since Percy had moved all the breakers to the new panel when he put it in, but that meant I still needed to pull out all the breakers from the circuits I’d removed. Saturday morning I shut off the power on the main breaker and moved quickly to get the remaining wires disconnected, the old breakers out, the remaining breakers consolidated at the top of the panel, and the old panel finally pulled off. The old electrical is finally, officially, gone! I printed some nice new labels to replace the masking tape and sharpie that had served to date. I still need to put some blanks in to cover up the removed breakers (there’s always got to be some little remaining task), and I want to remove the boards that the old panel was mounted on, but I’m still happy that, at least with the electrical, everything we have is new. I’ll be able to say the same about the plumbing just as soon as we get the rest of the old stack replaced.

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