While knob and tube wiring was a perfectly acceptable way of wiring a home before 1950, that’s simply not the case anymore.
What is Knob and Tube Wiring?
This specific method kept black and white wires separate throughout the house. It was thought that letting wires sit against the wood in a wall would increase the amount of wear and tear over time. This led to ceramic tubes being placed in drilled holes for the wires to run through. Ceramic knobs were also used to clamp the wire to the structure, hence the name “knob and tube wiring”.
Today’s homes are wired much differently with black and white wires (along with a grounding wire) being encased within a plastic sheath, and wires being stapled directly to joists instead of run through knobs.
Is Knob and Tube Wiring Safe?
The short answer is, it depends who you ask. Insurance companies often do not provide coverage for homes with knob and tube wiring. However, a knob and tube system is perfectly safe if properly maintained by a licensed electrician.
It is strongly recommended that you consult with an electrician to assess your home to ensure a safe environment. This will go a long way with insurance companies as well and greatly increase your chances of receiving coverage.
How Does Knob and Tube Wiring Affect My Home?
Knob and tube wiring can actually operate just fine, with a few minor inconveniences of course. This method isn’t a grounded system which can make it slightly more hazardous than the wiring of today, especially in areas of the home where you might find water (ie. kitchen, bathroom, etc.).
Another pitfall is that knob and tube wiring means your wall outlets will be 2-pronged instead of 3. Modern appliances tend to have 3-pronged wires only. However, if you plan to make updates to your home, this can create bigger problems. With handymen adding new outlets and making small changes as you need them, you could be mixing old methods with new ones. Since knob and tube wiring is designed to be a 60-amp system, making modern updates could speed up the wear and tear on the older wiring – potentially to the point of becoming a fire hazard.
As you can see, knob and tube wiring can create problems for the homeowners of today. Luckily, our expert team has seen it all, so we’re more than happy to help answer your questions and make recommendations on what your next steps could be. Give us a call at (416) 410-0909. We’ll work hard to make sure you have the information you need to make informed decisions about your home.
(image source: Wikipedia)