Converting an Amish house to Modern

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by jill.costello, Sep 13, 2006.

  1. jill.costello

    jill.costello Well-Known Member

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    DH and I are always on the lookout for a 'better' property than we have right now. [Better= more land in a gentler climate!]

    Well, I just came across a place that COMPLETELY fits the bill; has all the right sized barns/outbuildings, the fencing is complete and is cross-fenced into pastures, the house is a 2-story rectangle with small front overhang (2200 sq ft!). High ceilings, wood floors, cast iron wood cooking stove, etc. 38 acres in Missouri less than 45 minutes from Springfield. Cost is less than $170k.

    Before we go on believeing that this is a screaming deal and get our undies in bunches, how much should we estimate it will cost to wire the house for electricity and get a plumber out to put a pump on the well, run lines to the house, and have a septic installed? DH thinks it will be much less than I do.... I think we're looking at 15k-25k......

    Anything I should know or be aware of about doing this to an Amish house, I would love to hear!!
     
  2. pasotami

    pasotami Hangin out at the barn!

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    Before I would dive into the "total modern mode" I would at least look into some of the alternatives.... since it has nothing per se, the government (local and bigger) may very well help you on the cost. Then you would be saving money in the future and not in a bind "IF" the power went out.... JMHO from living in a total modern house that I have had to buy alternative methods just to stay with heat and power... :cool:
     

  3. big rockpile

    big rockpile If I need a Shelter

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    I think this is so funny!! You have to be talking about Seymore,Mo. we went down there in the '60's pulled plumbing and wiring out of a bunch of them Houses,and put a Roof on one of their Spring Houses.

    But anyway it will cost $1,500-$2,500 for Septic.About the same to put Pump in the Well.Not sure on running Plumbing in the House or Electric.I know just Wire and Breaker Box will run around $500.

    It would help if you could do the work yourself.Save you at least 2/3 the cost as far as Labor.

    big rockpile
     
  4. hunter63

    hunter63 Well-Known Member

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    Are you doing the work your self, or having it done?

    Pump and septic were about $7200 in WI, elect was already at the site, (something to consider, if you don't have it near by), so I did my own elect, plumbing on my small cabin. Another $4K or so.

    I'm thinking the your $15 to $25 might be pretty close. Get a local estimate, you may have to bring everything "up to code". The Amish don't worry about codes too much?

    Interesting side light,
    When I had my cabin built by the Amish, I gave them my floor plan, they thought it was very funny to put the bathroom next to the kitchen.
    My reason was to share a common "mechanicals" wall, as the cabin is solid log. Need a place to run everything.
    They couldn't frigure out why I would want to eat next to where I crrap.
    They use outhouses.
     
  5. big rockpile

    big rockpile If I need a Shelter

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    Thats another thing if you have to run Electric in.It cost us $200 per Pole,and another couple hundred to hook up.

    big rockpile
     
  6. veme

    veme Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Hubby & I had the same experiance this past spring. We looked at 4 & didn't like what we saw - one was a maybe workable.
    If you are in LOVE with the place, my suggestion is forget retro-fitting. It is too expensive. Try to adapt your lifestyle - it is possible. Ask a lot of questions and check out how they current family gets by.
    veme
     
  7. big rockpile

    big rockpile If I need a Shelter

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    I was just thinking too.If you don't mind how it looks you can run you Wiring in Conduit under your Floors or Attic,come down or up where you want it.Save tearing out Walls.

    If that Couty is like ours as far as Septic you can get by digging a Lagoon,which is far cheaper.

    I know if me and the wife had it we could do most ourselves other than the heavy digging.

    big rockpile
     
  8. arcticpixie

    arcticpixie Member

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    I know nothing about the codes in the area, but the suggestion to run the utilities in external chases is a good one and often done up here in AK. Log cabins are frequently retrofitted with plumbing and electric by using utility corridors mounted inside the existing structure. It is often used in stick framing homes as well to prevent compromising the vapor barrier. Another option is to fur the walls in, a 'false wall' if you will, that will serve for the electric. By furring in, you will up your R value and get the double benifit of lower heating/cooling bills. Non loadbearing interior walls can house your water/septic easy enough.

    I suggest keeping the conveniences to a minimum though. As others said, less to go wrong.
     
  9. The Paw

    The Paw Well-Known Member

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    I re-wired an old two story house, fishing new wire through the walls, etc. It is time consuming, but not terribly difficult on the top floor. You can access the ceiling fixtures from the attic, and usually the top of the wall (to fish down to switches and outlets) as well. The wall outlets on a main floor can be accessed from the basement in most cases.

    The real pain in the butt are the ceiling fixtures on the main floor. You have to cut 2 holes in your wall and ceiling where they meet and fish vertically and horizontally, and then patch.

    Also, rewiring an old house did not require as many outlets as new code, which demands many more outlets.

    Long story short, I would have a local contractor give you an estimate on surface mount wiring (conduit), as others suggest. It will cost you much more in materials, but much less in labour.

    On the plumbing, a contractor should be able to give you a price range sight unseen for average septic or pump related work. However, bringing the water and septic inside the house and connecting fixtures will depend entirely on the layout. If this was a house originally built for plumbing, but that has had it removed, it is probably easy to re-install. If not, you will need some detailed planning. Putting in a main bathroom from scratch is probably going to cost at least $10k unless you do the work yourself.