[ale] OT: Running computers in an older home (read older circuitry)

tfreeman at intel.digichem.net tfreeman at intel.digichem.net
Thu Feb 19 14:41:08 EST 2004

On Thu, 19 Feb 2004, John Wells wrote:

> Guys,
> My wife and I have found a house here in Greensboro we really like, but I have a few concerns.  The house is approx. 54 years old, with an addition on the back that's approx. 15-20 years old.  The addition has grounded, three prong outlets, but the front portion of the house, where my "office" would be, have the older two pronged, non-grounded outlets.


> On a given day, I run a 120 mhz firewall/router, a 900 mhz Athlon, a 2200XP+ Athlon (1800mhz) with a lot of components, and a 2.0 Ghz laptop pretty much 24/7.
> What are the concerns with going into a house like this with my power usage?  I do know that it's on a circuit breaker system...not fuse box.  And I plan on having an electrician come in a replace one outlet with a grounded, dedicated circuit so my computers will all plug into this outlet.
> Anything I'm missing or not considering?  I've never purchased a home with old wiring so I'm a little wary, but we're probably putting an offer in today.  I know that grounding all outlets in the house will probably be pretty darned expensive, so if I don't have to, I don't want to!

What follows are opinions from a peanut gallery resident. Take with a 
grain of salt...

Having an electrician come and run new wires into the office area is a 
wonderful idea - good for safety, good protection for the equipment, and 
probably good for the rest of the house. Points I suggest considering (in 
random order)

If feasable, consider having the entire room/office put on new circuit(s). 
That way you will _know_ what is affected by the circuit breaker. Many 
houses I have seen have circuits to the wall sockets and ceiling lights 
all but randomly intertwined. With fresh wireing you can change room 
arraingements freely as time passes, and keeping an eye on total current 
drain is easier (everything is visible and known). (In this house, I have 
the refrigerator, dining room light, an outside porch outlet, and, I 
think, an outside spotlight with a switch upstairs on the same circuit. 
The only common feature I notice to what else is on that circuit, is they 
all seem to be part of the back half of the house, along with two other 

Look into either pulling fresh phone/network wire to the office, or at 
least make it easy to do later if it needs doing. Again I argue planning 
for future flexibility, but also to encourage clean lines for 

Oversize your new circuits, you may need to add some cooling capacity of 
some sort to the office if air circulation isn't what you hope it to be. 
(I think that applies to the Atlanta area also.)

As somebody else pointed out, get a tester from Home Depot, Lowes, Radio 
Shack, wherever, and _test_ the electricians work yourself.

Hope this helps.

If you think Education is expensive
Try Ignorance
                   Author Unknown

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