Does Your Home Still Have Knob Tube Wiring?
Knob and tube wiring was a popular form of electrical wiring used between 1880 and the late 1940s throughout homes in the United States. It's easily identified by its trademark white, ceramic knobs that resemble spools of thread.
This wiring can last up to 100 years, but that doesn't mean you should keep decades-old knob and tube wiring. With the increased energy demands and the high risk of electrical fire and shock, you should definitely replace knob and tube wiring if it’s the type of electrical system in your home.
If you believe that your knob and tube wiring needs replacement, or if you would like it inspected, contact Attic Projects today.
The Hazards and Safety Considerations for K&T Wiring
You won't find knob and tube wiring in modern homes. Although not inherently dangerous, this type of wiring can become problematic as the insulation begins to deteriorate with age. For this reason, knob and tube wiring should never be run through insulation.
In fact, no wiring should be surrounded by insulation since it can create a fire hazard if the wires begin to overheat. Wiring in your home should instead be "open wiring,” which emphasizes the need to have open airspace around your wiring at all times.
Here is a list of other safety considerations for knob and tube wiring:
- Does not include safety ground conductor
- Higher risk of electrical shock that could cause injury or death
- No junction box
- Bad with moisture
- Can easily become hidden under the insulation
Having knob and tube wiring in your home doesn't necessarily mean that your property is at immediate risk of catching on fire. But it does mean that your electrical system should be regularly inspected to ensure that wiring is not worn, corroded, or damaged in any way. You should also keep in mind that having K&T wiring may make it difficult to obtain home insurance.
Other K&T Wiring Issues You May Be Facing
Wear and Tear on Insulation
K&T wiring uses a rubber/cloth insulation. Over time, this type of insulation may become brittle and start to crack and flake. If insulation is installed over the knob and tube wiring, this can create a significant fire hazard, should the wires become overheated.
Susceptible to Damage
General wear and or other issues can create serious problems for your K&T wiring. As it ages, the porcelain knobs and tubes can crack, and the wires may begin to fray.
Most existing knob and tube installations have fewer branch circuits than what is used today. This leaves electrical systems subject to higher levels of current and increases the risk of heat damage or fire.
Limited Power Capability
Knob and tube wiring was installed at a time when people used fewer appliances in their homes. Today, these old systems cannot keep up with the modern world’s demands and can become easily overheated.
Unprofessional / Improper Modifications
Home handymen are usually not professionally trained on working with K&T wiring and may inadvertently create a hazardous situation while attempting to upgrade the wiring.
Hard to Maintain
Knob and tube wiring is vulnerable to mechanical damage and should only be handled by a professional.
How to Identify Knob and Tube Wiring
Knob and tube wiring can be found in the basement or attic of older homes. You can quickly identify it by its white, ceramic knobs and tubes that look similar to spools of thread. Electrical wiring is looped throughout the knobs, and the heavy ceramic tubes secure the wires where they run through the joists.
It's important to note that just because you don't see knob and tube wiring doesn't mean it isn't there. That's because the wiring is often found behind the walls of homes. This is usually something that was done by previous homeowners (intentionally or unintentionally), using a concept known as "spider-webbing.” The only way to know for sure is to insert a camera through the wall and have a look around.
Remove and Replace Outdated Knob and Tube Wiring
The best way to deal with knob and tube wiring issues is to have the wiring completely removed and replaced. If your home has knob and tube wires, then it's likely that it’s been there since the early 20th century, a time when electrical systems powered fewer appliances. Replacing outdated K&T wiring with more modern copper wiring will increase the energy-efficiency of your home and allow you to meet current Electrical Safety Code standards.
It's also a good idea to put in a new electrical panel to ensure your home's systems are able to handle today's electrical usage requirements. Contact Attic Projects for knowledgeable and friendly service to remove and replace your knob and tube wiring.
Benefits of Replacing Your Electrical Wiring
- Increases energy efficiency
- Lowers insurance premiums
- Reduces the risk of electrical fire and shock
It's Time for Attic Projects to Remove and Replace Your Electrical Wiring
Attic Projects specializes in replacing outdated and unsafe knob and tube wiring. This is not a DIY project that any homeowner should attempt, and it’s best left to a qualified and licensed electrician. Attic Projects prides itself on our expert troubleshooting capabilities, and we will ensure that your electrical wiring replacement is handled professionally so that your home is as safe as possible.
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