Wiring in an old house

Frank1958October 10, 2011

I'm doing work in my mom's house which was built sometime in the 30's. We have two seperate boxes with screw in fuses. The wiring thats visible in the basement is metal clad. I was changing an old porcelan light and i have a total of 4 wires (2 sets of two), 2 wires hot and 2 wires neutral. Living in a newer house this type of wire in not familiar. Any info on this would be great. Thanks

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Unless you are a licensed electrician with liability insurance or a legal part owner of the property, be very cautious about getting involved in extensive amounts of electrical work there. If something goes south later, any insurance company involved will likely be going over things with a fine tooth comb looking for someone to share their pain.

    Bookmark   October 11, 2011 at 7:35AM
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I'm not looking to do anything extensive....just changing some old fixtures. I'm just looking for info on what type of wiring this is.

    Bookmark   October 11, 2011 at 2:11PM
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Most likely AC (armor clad) cable.

You really need a special cutter for it, though you can try and struggle with a hacksaw.

    Bookmark   October 11, 2011 at 2:17PM
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Well, if you are just changing out fixtures, it really doesn't matter what type of wiring it is. Just put the wires for the new fixture in exactly how the old ones came out. If the box is metal, it hopefully has a grounding screw to attach the ground wire to. In a 30's house though, it wouldn't have been grounded originally, so you may just have the light fixture ground attached to nothing.

If a lot of people have been in their monkeying with the electrical over the years, all bets are off in terms of what might be hiding behind the walls.

    Bookmark   October 11, 2011 at 4:37PM
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This is a ceiling box? Is it the only light controlled by a switch? I am betting that you have hot and neutral going to the box and the other two are a switch loop. If there are more lights on that switch, you have hot and neutral leading to that box and more of the same going to the down stream lights.

    Bookmark   October 11, 2011 at 7:28PM
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