Wow, it's been almost a week since I've found the time to post. We've been working almost non-stop on the house and yard as well as trying to get work-work done, that we've pretty much collapsed into bed at the end of each night.
The tenants moved in last week, and we worked on their unit until the night before they were to move in. Ted had gone about the task of swapping out the old outlets in their unit with brown standard grounded outlets. I found some nifty new cover plates for them, and they go a long way toward updating the look of the place. The outlets are from Lowes or Home Depot, I forget which, but the deco-style oil rubbed bronze plate covers came from Classic Accents. I love these. We'll be using them in the downstairs unit as well, and eventually will get the matching push-button switches.
As Ted replaced the outlets--some of which were practically hanging out of the walls--he also checked the general condition of the wiring. We do have some cloth wires, but a lot of the wiring looks like it was updated at some point and is in good condition.
Unfortunately, whoever did the update also took some shortcuts. Not everything was properly grounded, and some of the wire was strung bare in the wall. This is a recipe for disaster when you have bare wire coming into a sharp-edged box. For one outlet, the wires were actually sliced into by the box, and there was soot coating the wires and the box. Power had been arching in the wall for who knows how long.
So Ted replaced the wires and got them strung properly through conduit. While he did that, I had my first experience with plaster and lathe repairs. We had to move the outlet over about four inches in order to get the wires into conduit, which is probably why the previous owner didn't do it properly in the first place. Unfortunately, I don't have a photo of my awesome plastering skills. The job was small enough that I just used Plaster of Paris. Because there was a hole in the lathe, we used metal screen pulled flush with the backside of the plaster at the opening to act as a support for the new plaster. With several coats of plaster, it's now smooth.
Checking to make sure everything was installed and grounded properly took way more time than planned, but I think that for now--touch wood--we don't have to worry about anymore updates or repairs to the top unit and can focus our energies elsewhere.