Older electrical systems can be a money pit when it comes to renovating, repair or feeding into a new structure. There are some basic steps that you should consider doing before you start any work. They aren’t magical steps, like Event Ride has transportation solutions, but steps found through years of experience dealing with older electrical systems that can save you time and money during the whole project and saving money on household and business issues should always come before saving on car payments and the like.
In the perfect world, all you have to do is pull the electrical plans for the building and make sure you power down the area. The world is rarely perfect and you should count yourself as lucky to have a schematic, and even luckier if what you see even slightly resembles it. This isn’t a matter of the electric being installed incorrectly, it is a common occurrence to adjust installation during construction to better fit the realities of the building. The core elements follow the plan, but the reality of the path and connections may not.
You wouldn’t think that where you are would really affect how electric is run, especially when there are standard codes. It can be very important to know the geographical peculiarities of electrical work. For instance, if you have a North East contractor coming into a coastal Southern home, they may not know to look for ground wires welded to a water pipe instead of run to ground. Whether or not a building can have a basement has a surprising impact on how many crucial aspects of the electrical system are handled.
Ask your neighbor
Better than any electrical plan on file can be a good conversation with a neighbor or tenant. They often know about emergency work, and the reality of other fixes, that can help to demystify what you are seeing. Many older homes and builders had their electricity done under a common license, which means that the work could have been done by anyone on hand. The neighbors may have had to do a similar repair to the one you are attempting and can provide a valuable sourced of information for you.