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electrical: installing ceiling light fixtures


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so, we are finally getting around to installing some light fixtures in rooms that don't have them. two rooms would get brand new ceiling fixtures and existing switches that currently power outlets would be switched to them. another room would have an existing recessed light swapped out for a new regular fixture.

 

plus two small repairs: bathroom exhaust fan that takes forever to turn on and a hood light that seems to have a loose connection.

 

one electrician gave me a rough estimate of about $950 for all of the above (excluding cost of fixtures).

 

another says that it's all a matter of time and materials and it's hard for them to give me an estimate as they have no idea what they will encounter in the attic while running wire to the ceiling fixtures. they did say that their rate is $95/hr for the first hour and $85/hr after that.

 

so assuming that both have similar hourly rates that would seem to suggest 10 hours for one person or more likely 5 hours for two people to get near that $950 figure. does that seem right? seems kind of high to me but i've no idea how long it takes to run wire and rewire switches. any feedback appreciated.

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If you have an older house, it's possible the ceiling fixtures may be out of code. Junction box not properly mounted to a joist, two wires, no grounding wire. The light may not be secured properly, etc. In a very old house, the wire may be aluminum or wrapped in cloth.And have to be replaced. Fishing wire through a wall or ceiling can be easy, or it can be difficult. If you are using a design which has one light, but two on/off switches, you increase the number of wires and process.

 

If the work space is accessible (say, from an attic above), the job is usually a piece of cake. If the job requires minor excavation and patching, it will take longer.

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so assuming that both have similar hourly rates that would seem to suggest 10 hours for one person or more likely 5 hours for two people to get near that $950 figure. does that seem right? seems kind of high to me but i've no idea how long it takes to run wire and rewire switches. any feedback appreciated.

You might be talking one electrician and one apprentice.

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Five hours for two people could be light for this.

 

Installing new ceiling fixtures could be a real pain in the ass, especially if the existing wiring to the wall switch is running up from the basement (which it likely is). Someone has to crawl up into the attic, lay out boards for walking access (if you don't have this already), figure out approximately where the room is located, remove the insulation, locate the top plate for the wall that has the switch, measure to be able to drill a hole through the top plate in the cavity where the switch is located, find the correct breaker and kill power, remove the wall switch box, fish a chunk of Romex through the wall from the switch to the attic and over to the center of the room, install a chunk of wood between the ceiling joists to mount the box for the light, wire the box, replace all of the insulation, rotozip the sheetrock out from box, rewire the wall outlet that was switched, re-install the wall switch box, power up and test. Unless you get really lucky and the switches are on the same wall in adjacent rooms you repeat the whole thing twice.

 

I could see that taking more than half a day depending on the crew. I know electricians who would go up into the attic and work with their partner so they can stay there until the job is done and work very efficiently. And I know electricians who would go up to the attic and do some moving around, come down to get the drill, go up and drill the hole, come down to cut a piece of wood, etc.

 

Do you have any referrals? Anyone who has done T&M with the company that made you the offer to do that?

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Five hours for two people could be light for this.

 

 

...

 

 

Do you have any referrals? Anyone who has done T&M with the company that made you the offer to do that?

 

 

it's a small town---any referrals i'd get would include the guy who gave me the estimate and the people who said an estimate would be difficult. but from what you're saying it sounds like 5 hours x 2 guys seems reasonable. the guy did say he'd have one guy up in the attic and one guy below. it also sounds like we might save some money/time by only having one of the living room switches rewired to the new ceiling fixture and let the other continue to power the outlet.

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