Old Stone House

Knob and Tube…

August 3, 2006

Filed under: Master Bathroom @ 10:31 pm

knobandtube.jpgOne of the more disappointing discoveries of this reno has been unearthing some knob and tube wiring. Past home inspectors and insurers alike had all agreed that the house had been electrically updated with a proper breaker panel and wiring alike, but despite this we found a great mass of knob and tube wiring in the front entrance. Naturally, the moment you mention the words “knob and tube” grave warnings and red flags shoot up, and you are immediately condemned to an impeding fire, loss of insurance and any other possible tragedy imaginable…

In review, the problems associated with knob and tube are as follows:

  • there is no ground wire
  • the insulation around the knob & tube wiring breaks down over time creating the potential for hot and neutral wires to make contact
  • the wiring, typically installed up until the 1950’s was adequate for the loads being placed on it at the time, but modern day consumption can cause the wire to overheat.

So what to do?

Firstly, we assessed what was being run via this wiring – revealing that only three lights were utilizing this circuit. Secondly, we spoke to an electrician who indicated that, yes, we should replace the wiring, but the load being placed on the circuit was minimal so overheating was not an issue, and as the circuits were only for the lights, the ground, although essential, was not as critical. We decided that we would replace that wiring that we could, and leave the rest for another time. As we have plans to update the heating upstairs, requiring us to tear up major pieces of the floor, we will be able to update the remaining wiring then. As for the present, we replaced those wires that we could, and made note of those circuits to be updated.

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