MOBILE USERS: m.isthmus.com
Connect with Isthmus on Twitter · Facebook · Flickr · Newsletters · Instagram 
Wednesday, September 17, 2014 |  Madison, WI: 40.0° F  A Few Clouds
Collapse Photo Bar

Forons who bought old houses on the Isthmus--little help?

If it doesn't fit anywhere else, it fits here

Forons who bought old houses on the Isthmus--little help?

Postby Endo Rockstar » Wed Apr 11, 2012 11:54 am

Howdy Folks,

So you responsible forons who bought older homes on the Isthmus, how many of you had to pull out the old knob & tube wiring? If you didn't rewire the house, who did you go through to get it insured? --I'm having trouble finding an Insurance Agent daring enough to insure a 100+ year old house.

Balloon Framing + Knob & Tube wiring = "well, at least it has a fire hydrant in front of the house...."

-Dan Motor
Endo Rockstar
Forum God/Goddess
 
Posts: 1254
Joined: Wed Nov 06, 2002 11:16 pm
Location: Madison

Re: Forons who bought old houses on the Isthmus--little help

Postby Toonces » Wed Apr 11, 2012 12:16 pm

Whoah, don't tell me you did'nt bother to get an estimate on replacing the electrical and writing that into your offer on the house... yikes.

So the answer to your first question is most likely: everyone.
Toonces
Forum Addict
 
Posts: 305
Joined: Fri Apr 01, 2005 5:39 pm
Location: Behind The Wheel

Re: Forons who bought old houses on the Isthmus--little help

Postby Stebben84 » Wed Apr 11, 2012 12:24 pm

Endo Rockstar wrote:So you responsible forons who bought older homes on the Isthmus, how many of you had to pull out the old knob & tube wiring?


Didn't have to because nobody asked. Insurance never asked about it. I don't think the entire house has it because some work has been done, but I know it's there in places.
Stebben84
Forum God/Goddess
 
Posts: 4836
Joined: Thu Mar 02, 2006 12:59 pm

Re: Forons who bought old houses on the Isthmus--little help

Postby fennel » Wed Apr 11, 2012 12:33 pm

You should rewire and get it over with. I don't think you need to remove the K&T; just disconnect it from the service. One thing about balloon framing is that running new wire is relatively easy. Once that's done, adding some kind of fire-stops in the stud cavities is a good idea.
fennel
Forum God/Goddess
 
Posts: 3173
Joined: Thu Sep 28, 2006 4:24 pm
Location: Inside the Green Zone, Madison

Re: Forons who bought old houses on the Isthmus--little help

Postby dave esmond » Wed Apr 11, 2012 12:36 pm

We replaced the whole system once we got tired of not being able to use the computer and washing machine at the same time. It did cost a bit but very worth it.

I was more worried about the subpar previous homeowner "upgrades".

But before we did that Allstate never had a problem.
dave esmond
Forum God/Goddess
 
Posts: 2566
Joined: Thu Oct 18, 2001 4:15 pm

Re: Forons who bought old houses on the Isthmus--little help

Postby Toonces » Wed Apr 11, 2012 12:48 pm

fennel wrote: Once that's done, adding some kind of fire-stops in the stud cavities is a good idea.


Per most building codes balloon framing requires firestop every 8 vertical feet otherwise every stud cavity where there is no window becomes a chimney and a fire will burn the entire house down in short order.
Toonces
Forum Addict
 
Posts: 305
Joined: Fri Apr 01, 2005 5:39 pm
Location: Behind The Wheel

Re: Forons who bought old houses on the Isthmus--little help

Postby Stebben84 » Wed Apr 11, 2012 12:55 pm

fennel wrote: I don't think you need to remove the K&T; just disconnect it from the service.


The inspector pointed out some K&T wiring, but never said it was live. Maybe it's just living in there. I don't have any electrical issues and everything is grounded.
Stebben84
Forum God/Goddess
 
Posts: 4836
Joined: Thu Mar 02, 2006 12:59 pm

Re: Forons who bought old houses on the Isthmus--little help

Postby Endo Rockstar » Wed Apr 11, 2012 1:09 pm

Toonces wrote:Whoah, don't tell me you did'nt bother to get an estimate on replacing the electrical and writing that into your offer on the house... yikes.

So the answer to your first question is most likely: everyone.


haha, no we're in better shape than that, this house we're looking to buy. Long story short, the inside is beautiful. The Mrs. fell in love with the layout, the kitchen, the main bathroom, and the bedrooms, I on the other hand spent most of my time in the basement scratching my head.

Best estimate for replacing the wiring is about $12,000. Not great, but its a bargaining chip at least.
dave esmond wrote:We replaced the whole system once we got tired of not being able to use the computer and washing machine at the same time. It did cost a bit but very worth it.

I was more worried about the subpar previous homeowner "upgrades".

But before we did that Allstate never had a problem.


Yeah, there is some suspect wiring to be sure. The whole bathroom upstairs is knob & tube (probably running through the attic) No GFCI outlets in the bathroom or kitchen (red flag) and there's fan in the walk-in shower that I'm terrified to look behind.

Obviously anything with a motor shouldn't be on the knob & tube --but I'm not really holding out hope on that one either ---ZZZZAP!

Allstate is the winner for me as well, he came in with a respectable $650/yr. The guy kinda chuckled, but he must be used to people calling about insuring all the "luxurious" downtown properties for sale. So far I've gotten "no-go" from West-Bend, Foremost, Hastings, Philadelphia, Wisconsin Mutual, and Secura. Its been informative to say the least.

-Dan Motor
Endo Rockstar
Forum God/Goddess
 
Posts: 1254
Joined: Wed Nov 06, 2002 11:16 pm
Location: Madison

Re: Forons who bought old houses on the Isthmus--little help

Postby narcoleptish » Wed Apr 11, 2012 1:22 pm

I know there is still some K&T in the ceiling fixtures but the majority of the house has been switched over. State Farm asked about it and I lied, but then they refused to insure me because of the asbestos siding. Whatever. Erie Insurance never asked about wiring or asbestos and that's who I'm with.
narcoleptish
Forum God/Goddess
 
Posts: 3627
Joined: Mon Mar 14, 2005 1:35 am

Re: Forons who bought old houses on the Isthmus--little help

Postby dave esmond » Wed Apr 11, 2012 1:30 pm

Endo Rockstar wrote:Yeah, there is some suspect wiring to be sure. The whole bathroom upstairs is knob & tube (probably running through the attic) No GFCI outlets in the bathroom or kitchen (red flag) and there's fan in the walk-in shower that I'm terrified to look behind.


Looking behind anything in an old house is just the first step in a for sure project.

I speak from experience.

Never look behind unless you're ready to say WTF and spend some money.

Still I love my old house. And luckily it was left alone by most of the previous owners. The ones who tried to rehab did pretty much everything 100% the wrong way.
dave esmond
Forum God/Goddess
 
Posts: 2566
Joined: Thu Oct 18, 2001 4:15 pm

Re: Forons who bought old houses on the Isthmus--little help

Postby Stebben84 » Wed Apr 11, 2012 3:04 pm

narcoleptish wrote: Erie Insurance never asked about wiring or asbestos and that's who I'm with.


Same here.
Stebben84
Forum God/Goddess
 
Posts: 4836
Joined: Thu Mar 02, 2006 12:59 pm

Re: Forons who bought old houses on the Isthmus--little help

Postby Endo Rockstar » Wed Apr 11, 2012 4:00 pm

Stebben84 wrote:
narcoleptish wrote: Erie Insurance never asked about wiring or asbestos and that's who I'm with.


Same here.


Call me an eternal pessimist or even honest to a fault when it comes to this kind stuff but I don't know if could be anything but forthcoming with the insurance company.

My greatest fear would be having a house fire caused by something my policy doesn't cover--or didn't cover because I didn't give them the correct info.

My ability to make decisions grinds to a halt until I've read the mountain of paperwork that comes with anything financial or insurance related.

-Dan Motor
Endo Rockstar
Forum God/Goddess
 
Posts: 1254
Joined: Wed Nov 06, 2002 11:16 pm
Location: Madison

Re: Forons who bought old houses on the Isthmus--little help

Postby snoqueen » Wed Apr 11, 2012 4:23 pm

Never had any insurance problems with my old house on the isthmus, which had K&T in the beginning. The trouble with K&T is you can't get a ground, so anything with a 3-prong plug can't be plugged in correctly.

I concur with most of the above comments on fire safety, insurance etc. While the consequences of falsifying info on an insurance application could be unpleasant, you only have to answer the questions as asked. If they want to know something it's on there. If they don't care, it's not asked. You don't have to go in and make this big confession.

Remember if you start to work on a circuit (or your electrician starts) and it's not up to code (K&T is not up to code) you have to replace that whole circuit back to the breaker box or back to wiring that is currently code. You can't just make patched-in repairs here and there. That's a good rule, given the weird scary stuff lurking where amateurs have messed with the wiring over the years. So if you want to add an outlet, say, you're supposed to update that whole circuit. Following this rule will soon turn into updating all the wiring in the whole place. Just keep that in mind when projecting your costs.

Also if you've still got a fuse box instead of a breaker box, you'll probably need to update the box in order to have adequate household power in various rooms. Add that in to your projected costs.

If you're going to insulate the attic, you want the wiring updated in that area before you do so. Incorrectly installed insulation around old wiring or recessed light fixtures is a fire hazard.

Doesn't mean the house is worthless. It could be real nice. All this stuff is fixable and is routine work. And you don't have to rip out all the old wires once they are deactivated, though sometimes it's so easy to cut and pull it's silly not to do so. You can use a voltage sniffer to see which wires are live and which aren't.
snoqueen
Forum God/Goddess
 
Posts: 11494
Joined: Fri Feb 14, 2003 11:42 pm

Re: Forons who bought old houses on the Isthmus--little help

Postby Stebben84 » Wed Apr 11, 2012 4:53 pm

Endo Rockstar wrote:Call me an eternal pessimist or even honest to a fault when it comes to this kind stuff but I don't know if could be anything but forthcoming with the insurance company.

My greatest fear would be having a house fire caused by something my policy doesn't cover--or didn't cover because I didn't give them the correct info.


I never filled out a form. Everything was done over the phone and with my mortgage company. There was nothing to falsify. They don't know that I know there is K and T. Inspector pointed it out, but it never made his booklet. But, like I said. I may be inactive for all I know.
Stebben84
Forum God/Goddess
 
Posts: 4836
Joined: Thu Mar 02, 2006 12:59 pm

Re: Forons who bought old houses on the Isthmus--little help

Postby Toonces » Wed Apr 11, 2012 5:09 pm

Endo Rockstar wrote:haha, no we're in better shape than that, this house we're looking to buy....

Best estimate for replacing the wiring is about $12,000. Not great, but its a bargaining chip at least.


12G sounds about right, I assume that includes a new panel, too. Make sure to talk to your realtor about getting the specifics of the electrical system being not up to code in your offer (via the inspector) so the seller is cornered. If they do not accept your offer they are then required by law to disclose the electrical issue to all future potential buyers, so in the end they are forced to consider an offer that's more than $12G less than what they were expecting. I probably would not be in my house if I did not pay extra to get a structural inspection for a simple crack in the mortar of a block foundation wall, the sellers really had no idea on the cost of such a repair and kinda freaked out at first.
Endo Rockstar wrote:Obviously anything with a motor shouldn't be on the knob & tube

You got that right: If the Motorz plugged in they would burn the house down!
Toonces
Forum Addict
 
Posts: 305
Joined: Fri Apr 01, 2005 5:39 pm
Location: Behind The Wheel

Next

Return to Catch All

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests

moviesmusiceats
Select a Movie
Select a Theater


commentsViewedForum
  ISTHMUS FLICKR

Promotions Contact us Privacy Policy Jobs Newsletters RSS
Collapse Photo Bar