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Electrician - Electrician Questions
1.20 How much should it cost to install a ventilation fan in a bathroom? And what type of contractor would do that?

Q. We have a second story bathroom with a plaster ceiling with an unfinished attic above, leading up to a roof with cedar planks and two layers of shingles above that. We want to hire someone to install a ventilation fan in the ceiling and vent it through the roof. What would be a reasonable price for something like that? And what type of contractor should we look for to do that - electrician, HVAC guy, etc?

A. Anyone who does renovations can install it for you...just make sure he doesn't vent it to the attic because you will have problems with condensation which will affect your plaster ceiling...make sure you discuss the job with him in detail so you know he knows what he's's not as easy of a job as you'd think.

1.20 What is the reason for a slow or stopped central air conditioning outside cooling fan with a loss of cold air?

Q. The recent problem seems to be related to the outdoor cooling fan. The air conditioning system seems to be working properly, but there is a loss of cooling of the air coming from the indoor air conditioning vents. I inspected the outside unit, and yesterday the cooling fan was stopped with a humming/grinding sound. The capacitor looked good (no bulging), but I'm not an electrician and I have no way (or the knowledge) to test voltages and amperages and such. Anyway, I blew on some dust/dirt/cobwebs around some of the wires, and started the system back on and the fan moved at normal speed and the system worked and cooler air came out. However, today, the indoor temperature wasn't maintained and I went outside and the cooling fan was running much slower (but it was running). After I turned off the system, I felt the metal cover of the outside unit, and it was very hot, and it seemed that the source of the heat came from directly above the cooling fan motor. Please contact me!

A. Replace your outdoor fan and while your at it replace the capacitor and everything will be fine. But turn your unit off untill you get it fixed or you'll be changing a compressor or buying a new unit.

1.20 Questions about doing the big 3 upgrade?

Q. Last year I was about to do this install for my stereo, I bought all the stuff I need and then right when I was about to install it all, I took a reading of my power wire and it seemed to damn high already from what was coming from it. ( I can't remember the voltage because it was a year ago) I showed my uncle that's a mechanic ( not an electrician) and he said that "I wouldn't do it because it's already hi and it might fry lots of things" I know that the voltage was above 12.6 for sure! maybe 14 something? and that's before I even installed any extra gauge wire. so I just changed my mind and never installed it...I still have everything and I'm wanting to try this again and actually doit but I really don't want to ruin my car or fry all my audio equipment, should I hire a professional shop to do this so then they are liable for any damage? also - I have a kinetic 1400 battery under my hood powering my car. and my stereo is jl audio amp and sub. I don't want to buy a HO alt yet. thanks


1.20 What do contractors charge per square foot to remodel part of an unfinshed existing basement to a bedroom? ?

Q. What do contractors charge per square foot to remodel part of an unfinshed existing basement to a bedroom? I am looking into converting part of my unfinsihed basement to a bedroom around 12ft x 12ft. There will be no Addition to the house, but there will be remodelling to already existing space putting up some walls to make a bedroom. Ballpark figure thanks.

A. Even a Ball Park figure would be difficult to produce for with out a visit. But lets say, the electrician could be about $1,000.00 total. X 15.15 divided by 144.

1.20 Is $3,500 too much for a 3/4 bath remodel? (this would include gutting and replacing everything)?

Q. We are looking to remodel a 3/4 bathroom in a 2nd vacation residence. It is the only bathroom in the place. We might want to sell in 1-2 years. We are looking to completely gut everything and 1) install stand-up shower, 2) install new toilet and have it relocated to a different spot, 3) replace vanity/sink and have it moved slightly, 4) re-cover walls with either greenboard/drywall or another resistant surface 4) install new vinyl flooring, 5) update any electrical connections. The bathroom is only 6' 10" x 6' 6". An independent contractor quoted us $3,500 for a full-turnkey remodel (including material/labor/plumbing/electrical/waste removal. This figure is using lowest-cost materials from Lowes. We asked for pure labor and got $1500 - $1800 (so this assumes we buy the materials ourselves). We thought this was pretty high - we're not looking to do tiles or granite - just the basics. Anyone have an idea what this sort of remodel should cost?? Thank you all for the speedy (and encouraging) replies!! I had a bit of sticker shock initially, so I'm glad to hear that this quote is not out of the ballpark. The contractor actually just built us a deck, so we've worked with him before. This will be the first interior job though. Right now we're thinking of going with a water-resistant wall-board (Aqua Tile?) instead of doing drywall or tiles. This stuff doesn't look bad and is $12 for a 4' x 8' sheet. The standup shower is pre-molded, but this stuff would go everywhere else. This contractor built us a small deck before, so it's not our first job with him. But, he has to bring a plumber and electrician on board for this. Thanks again for your feedback!

A. I don't think the price is out of line, especially the labor only. Is he connecting to existing plumbing? If you buy the materials, I think you can get better fixtures included in a price of $1,700.00 Ask a few other contractors for estimates. 8/26

1.20 Does a homeowner have the right to see bills/contracts between the builder and the subcontractors?

Q. A homeowner signed a contract with us to remodel their kitchen and bathroom. We hired two subcontractors: an electrician and a plumber to do work at their house. Now the homeowner wants to see bills/contracts between our company and the subcontractors we hired. Does he have any right to see our company's bills/contracts between us and the subcontractors we hired? The contract does state that any communications to the subcontractor from the homeowner has to be done through the contractor. Any help would be appreciated since we are new to the business.

A. He has a right to see licenses & qualifications. He has a right to see insurance e.g. public liability. He has NO right to see financial contract between you and the contractors. I would get out quick if you can he sounds like a bad customer.

1.20 I want to be a home builder, and how would i start off?

Q. I have done a home build already through my school. Through that i got my apprenticeship paper signed for electrician, and go to school and all that. I want to become a builder, but first i want to get my electrical license, since for being a builder there is no license. How should i start? Is there any type of certificate i need; for knowledge in building houses?

A. Well although you don't have to have a license to be a builder you do have to have a general contractors license to pull permits you may want to start with a construction management degree then study for your general contractors license and get a job with a general contractor or "builder" and learn the business and in 5 or 10 years you can become a builder, there are people who don't have to do all this but they have a lot of money and they just hire general contractors to build houses who in turn take their money and rip them off because they don't know what they're doing

1.20 Carpenters: what is the approximate cost of removing and replacing new sheetrock in a 12x6 bathroom?

Q. I'd like to know the average cost per day for labor. This will include a bathroom exhaust fan/heater and the replacing sheetrock on the ceiling as well.

A. You're talking about a fairly labor intense job. You're remodeling a finished bathroom, which is a bit larger than average. Depending on where you live, contractor prices vary. You should hire a licensed/insured individual in case something goes wrong; ie, there are leaks, etc. If it can be all be done in one or 2 days, estimate around $300/day minimum for a carpenter or contractor. If extra help is called in, the cost goes up accordingly. Take into account that you're dealing with water & electricity in the same area. Plan on the extra expense of an electrician to come in & do the wiring for the fan. Removing drywall (sheetrock) is messy & there will be lots of fine white dust everywhere. Ask if they're totally clean up after the job. A good, rust-proof exhaust fan is approx. $100 for a quiet, rust-proof, 110cfi unit. If your drywall needs replacement due to water damage of any sort, there may be rotted wood beneath and/or mold. Repair of that, plus materials can significantly increase the total cost. To be safe, I'd put aside approx. $2,000 until the contractor has a chance to see what's behind that drywall. ~m~


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