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RE: Is this electrical bid high? (Follow-Up #7)

posted by: sniffdog on 05.04.2007 at 07:54 am in Building a Home Forum


I am in the process of going through this myself. Learned the hardway that sq footage is not the way electricians bid their jobs (at least in my area). My guy charges $25 per outlet, $50 per switch, $100 per recessed can, $400 per sub-panel, $80 per chandelier or fan. These prices include material, labor, and finishing.

If you have an electircal plan for the house, make a list of outlets, switches, lights, recessed lights etc. Then use the figures I gave you to get a rough estimate.

I wound up doing a lot of the wiring myself because the cost was very high to add the things I wanted. I found that the recessed lights were a major part of the cost - there is no economies inlcuded if you have 5 recessed lights all close - it is still $100 per can. I have 87 recessed lights in my house - ouch! So I did them myself.

When I got done with my job, I realized that the prices my electrician had were reasonable - given the amount of time it took me to do it.

Hope this helps.


clipped on: 02.23.2008 at 01:01 pm    last updated on: 02.23.2008 at 01:03 pm

RE: meeting w/electrician - tips/advice? (Follow-Up #3)

posted by: shawneeks on 02.01.2008 at 01:28 pm in Building a Home Forum

The 'standard' number of outside outlets and garage outlets is very small, consider a few extra.
We put 2 outlets in our front soffits on a special switch in our entry closet for Christmas lights.
We put extra outlets in our home office for all the computers, etc.
We put an outlet inside the cabinet that we keep our cell phones so we can charge them without them cluttering the counter.
We have a master bath cabinet with an outlet inside so that the shaver recharger, etc. isn't on the counter.
We put center fixtures in every room we were considering having a ceiling fan.
We also pre-wired for a whole house attic fan even though we haven't put one in yet.
Think ahead on what rooms you want dimmer switches. They make sense in some places, but not everywhere.
Other than that, just consider your layout (especially the kitchen) to ensure you have adequate light. A good electrician can advise you on those things.


clipped on: 02.16.2008 at 08:38 pm    last updated on: 02.16.2008 at 08:51 pm

RE: Help with electrical pricing (Follow-Up #21)

posted by: persnicketydesign on 09.11.2007 at 09:21 pm in Building a Home Forum

Mel...great idea about the wall switch for the floor plugs. We definitely need to do that. Thanks for the advice.

kjboggs...glad to hear the prices are great in your area too. You've got a ton of cans!


clipped on: 02.16.2008 at 06:27 pm    last updated on: 02.16.2008 at 07:30 pm

RE: Electrical outlets, phone/cable(jacks)outlets..... (Follow-Up #6)

posted by: flash on 01.07.2008 at 03:45 pm in Building a Home Forum

I'm in the planning stages but have put tons of thought into this. Hopefully I won't have to tweak it too much when I do the framing walkthrough. (You really should walk though the framed house before finalizing the locations.)

No Christmas package (don't decorate for holidays) or intercom.

Outlets at a few locations specifically for nighlights (in bathrooms and in hallways) so we don't have to flip on the overhead lights in order to use the facilities in the middle of the night.

Switch for the bathroom fan between the toilet and the vanity (instead of with the other switches near the door) so that it is accessible from the toilet and standing in front of the vanity.

Duplex outlets near the TV area.

Duplex outlet mounted higher on the wall than normal for the main phone area which will be a nich in the wall.

Duplex outlets to either side of all potential bed headboards.

Oulets dedicated for cell phone charging in an elevated nich.

Duplex outlet, tv cable (for internet) and phone (for fax) anywhere that I plan to (or even might) have a computer.

Outlet immediately beside the loft railing in case we ever want to put lights across the railing we can plug them in without a tripping hazzard.

Although we probably won't need them, I am putting one oulet just inside each WIC.

In my workshop, I'll put an outlet 5' high so that I can put a shelf under it to hold a small radio and clock but still be able to put tables or work space under it.

Outlets closer together than Code requires so that it's more convenient.

Switches for a room at EVERY entrance into that room. (Our current house doesn't have switches at every entrance and it's a pain.)

We will have a small vestibule (for guest entry) and small mudroom for our entry from the garden that are beside each other. Their lights will be on the same switch so that when we walk from outside, into the mudroom, into the entry (from interior access) and then finially into the main house we don't have to flip lights on and off every few steps. Just once when we enter the mudroom and again when we enter the main house.

Don't forget electrical service for any undercabinet lights.

There are past threads about outlets that are mounted so that they are accessible from inside cabinet drawers so that clothing irons or hairdryers can be left plugged in all of the time and stored in the drawers. I'm considering that, too.

In a similar manner, outlet inside of mixer lifter kitchen cabinet for mixer.

Outlets and switch for pendant lights on the kitchen island.

Outlet for microwave that will be raised above countertop height.

Exterior grade outlets at multiple places outside that are easily accessible from the porch and patio areas (not for Christmas lights).

Outlet at attic access incase I need to plug in a light there since we will have minimal lighting there.


clipped on: 02.16.2008 at 05:55 pm    last updated on: 02.16.2008 at 06:28 pm

RE: What else to consider when running wiring (Follow-Up #8)

posted by: itsunclebill on 12.06.2007 at 10:47 pm in Electrical Wiring Forum

If you're in an area where power issues are a regular weather related thing plan on installing the wiring with a standby generator in mind. Get all the home runs for the circuits that will be on the standby power into a separate panel from the beginning.

Even if you plan on using a gas range and dryer, wire for the electrics. May make for an easier sell if the time ever comes or less stress if you change your own mind.

Place receptacles in bedrooms so no matter where a headboard will wind up there is a receptacle on each side of it rather than in the middle. Have wire installed so these can be split wired if desired (half the receptacle is switch controlled).

Have neutrals run to switch locations for fancy function controls.

Think about a receptacle in a drawer in the bathroom, maybe even with a switch that shuts it off when the drawer is closed.

Receptacles in a cupboard or near a shelf where the cell phones and other modern "gotta haves" come to rest at the end of the day and need charging.

Run Smurf pipe (the blue plastic flexible stuff)from the basement or crawl space to the attic in several places for future "whatever".

Put in conduit stubs if future hot tubs, detatched garages, or other out buildings are in the future.


clipped on: 02.16.2008 at 06:28 pm    last updated on: 02.16.2008 at 06:28 pm

RE: Help with electrical pricing (Follow-Up #8)

posted by: sniffdog on 09.11.2007 at 08:31 am in Building a Home Forum


welcome to my world. i just went through this with my build and if I had the electrician do eveything I wanted - it would have been about 40K for rough in and finish work. The builder had 20K in the budget to wire the house to code (which I am still fuming about)and there were about 20K of up charges for things I wanted becuase I think that just wiring to code on a custom home is BS.

I cut the bill down to 28K (20 K builder budget + 8K upcharges) by doing a lot of the wiring myself. I wired the second floor, basement, and installed all of the recessed cans (87 total). It's a 5000+ sq ft home in N. Va.

I would get a detailed breakout of the electrical costs so you can see where the big ticket items are. I noticed right away that alomost 9K of the 20K upcharges were for cans - they charge 100 per can around here (that is to spot the can, wire it, and put the trim on - and it included the hardware too but they tend to use mid grade cans). Seems like a lot of money until you do it - it was a lot of work.

I worked out a deal with the electrician so that he ran the switch legs for the cans and I installed them - and I used really good hardware. That was just one example way I cut down the costs.

On the second floor I had them install a sub panel and I wired eveything to that panel. This way we could easily demarc who did what work.

The other thing I did was all the A/V and security wiring in my house. Talk about a racket - had I used a sub for that the wiring costs would have been astronomical. I learned very fast that you can install conduit now and pull wire later - if you want more detail on that let me know.

I saved money but boy did I work my buns off. In the end I ran over 7000 feet of wire by myself in the span of about 4 weeks - working mostlly weekends.

I think you either have to pay the piper or do some work yourself. I also would not go with low bidder on this item - it is way to critical for yours and your families safety. You don't want bozos wiring your house.

Best of luck


clipped on: 02.16.2008 at 06:14 pm    last updated on: 02.16.2008 at 06:14 pm

RE: What else to consider when running wiring (Follow-Up #2)

posted by: carguy60 on 12.05.2007 at 11:30 am in Electrical Wiring Forum

Fotostat's advice is well taken. I also am not a big fan of the all-in-one wiring solutions. The technology changes rapidly, and multimedia/computer wiring planning is probably a crapshoot anyway. The Cat6, RG6, etc are not all that expensive in bulk and are a better bet.
I have run hundreds of feet of wiring in my 20 year old house, and to avoid some of that would have been attractive.
Some pieces of advice that I would offer.
1. If you have computer interest, run some CAT6 cable
(not CAT5) to logical computer locations, or printer
locations. Wireless connections might render this unused, but may be very appreciated in the future.

2. Run at least two (I run 4) high quality RG6 to logical television locations. Their starting point should be a location that can contain consolidation equipment such as cable splitting, or satellite multiswitches.
I would encourage you to designate a place for this intersection, (call it a wiring closet) and center it in the house (basement works great) so that you have a point where Computer and Media wiring comes together.

3. Also run Computer wire to television locations. Lots of technologies coming that rely on the house LAN to carry multimedia (TV, Audio, PC, digital video) for distribution.

4. Run CAT6 to any logical phone location, rather than running the 24 connector (I think it is this many) daisy chained phone wire. Home runs for phone are good also to ensure high quality, easy to troupleshoot connections.
Cell phones, wireless phones would influence this plan, but a reliable, high quality central phone station is a big factor in quality phone service.

5. Run your low voltage lines, AV, and computer after your power circuits are roughed. Make sure that whoever is running these lines knows the requirements for separation from power wires.

6. Get your electrician to mark the electrical drawing with circuit numbers that can be identified in the service box. That will be a good indication on the job your electrician is doing also.
7. Do not let your electrician choose where to put outlets and switches. You should mark each one on the electrical diagram. Put some thought into how you live, and your personal likes/dislikes for these decisions. I have never been dissatisfied with where I have outlets and how circuits are switched in my house, but one of my neighbors, whose house was wired by the same electrician, complained loudly about the location and usefulness of his switches and outlets.

8. Have your electrician install a whole house surge protector. This may be somewhat controversial, but they are not that expensive, (less than $200) and can protect you from several common failures.

9. Ask your electrician to use some duplex circuit breakers in your service box, to make sure that you have available slots for future use. I have added 2 240 circuits and 12 other circuits in my home in 20 years. It is very expensive if you have to add additional service box. Make sure you get 200 amp service to start. (minimum)

10. Specify to your electrician that GFI circuits should not span rooms, so that if a GFI trips, you do not have to go to another room to reset it. I missed that in my design and I have to go upstairs to another bathroom to reset the GFI that handles the master bath.

11. If you are a computer nerd, specify to your electrician that you would like separate home run circuits
run for computer locations, (I also did it for two television locations, and a CPAP outlet) or other important electronics oriented circuits. Then it becomes easy to install UPS systems at your service entrance site to provide secure, uninterruptible, conditioned power to that type of equipment.

I hope this is helpful.
A little attention now can save you money, and "wish I had done that" regrets in the future.

Good luck


clipped on: 02.16.2008 at 05:52 pm    last updated on: 02.16.2008 at 05:52 pm

RE: Electrical outlets, phone/cable(jacks)outlets..... (Follow-Up #2)

posted by: allison0704 on 01.07.2008 at 08:31 am in Building a Home Forum

We can switch on our floodlights from the MBR. I put the switch next to the door leading out onto the screen porch.

If you're going to have a central vacuum system, make sure you have an outlet within 5ft of vacuum outlet (carpet attachment uses this).

Mounted our electrical outlets 4ft from floor in garage.

Two outlets in my walk-in pantry for microwave and toaster oven.


clipped on: 02.16.2008 at 05:50 pm    last updated on: 02.16.2008 at 05:50 pm