Replacing Knob and Tube Wiring: How, When, and Why
Dangers, insurance, and proper replacement of knob and tube wiring
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When tearing the lath & plaster off of the back hall of our home, built in 1933, we uncovered every homeowner's worst fear—the unexpected surprise of out-of-date electrical work. Our hallway, which leads to our basement, was laden with knob and tube. Before we could have new drywall put up, we called a local electrician to bid out the project of removing ten instances of knob and tube wiring. The bid came in around $650 and the electrician, with an assistant, spent about six hours updating the wiring. After all of the knob & tube wiring was updated, we were able to put up insulation to prepare for the drywall workers coming in.
Mollie, QualitySmith Employee; Project Started July, 2010
If you have knob and tube what can you do as a home owner? A good start is being informed. Finding knob and tube wiring could mean your project's postponement or altering your remodeling plans because of insurance and safety reasons.
Knob and Tube FAQ's
Will Companies Insure Knob and Tube Wiring?
Many insurance companies refuse to insure houses with unsafe knob & tube wiring and fixtures. Usually insurance agencies want to know the percentage of knob and tube in use, the quality or condition of the knob and tube wiring, and if it can handle the electric current or load passed through the wiring. In addition, no insulation may be touching knob & tube wiring. A certified inspector should be consulted when determining if these factors jeopardize the safety of your home and your 'insurability.'
Why is Knob and Tube Dangerous?
Knob and tube should be replaced because the original wiring was designed to carry less electrical current than today's standard wiring. In the 30's knob and tube was adequate for lights and electric circuits. Today's air conditioners, dishwashers, and high current devices pull too large a load for knob and tube wiring to operate safely. As the electrical load increases the old wires get hot and can become a fire hazard. If you have knob and tube in your home, consider finding an electrical contractor to replace it with a safer alternative.
Replacing Knob and Tube?
Mollie's story points out how easy it is to replace knob and tube wiring—six hours and a few hundred dollars—giving your family peace of mind. Remember to carefully consider any remodeling project before you begin—various obstacles can crop up, requiring extra time to complete. Oftentimes it is a wise choice to hire a contractor to avoid unknown complications.