COMMUNITY FORUM

Joey35

05:50AM | 11/13/03
Member Since: 11/11/03
2 lifetime posts
Bvelectrical
Hey everybody, this is my first time on here. I just bought a house that has knob and tube wiring throughout the attic and second floor. The home inspector said it definitely needs to be switched but the insurance agent says that as long as I install GFCI's it will pass code and be quite safe. I live in an area where most of the houses still have this type of wiring. What do you think?

k2

06:03AM | 11/13/03
Member Since: 06/06/03
1250 lifetime posts
Hi Joey, I'm not an electrician, but years ago we had an old farmhouse with a lot of such wiring. I've been told it has advantages in such areas--as rodents (fairly common in such areas, unfortunately) couldn't chew it and short it out--like normal sheathed electrical cable.

I did end up changing a lot of it out (there was a modern electrical panel). Some of it was inaccessible and I left that alone. My biggest concern was that a large part of the house was on one or two circuits. Not to mention that the old timers that lived there would just add to the knob and tube wherever they needed to--so I think there was simply too much on one or two circuits (by modern standards).

Joey35

06:12AM | 11/13/03
Member Since: 11/11/03
2 lifetime posts
THanks for your reply K2. It's interesting because my house was recently switched from 60 to 100 amp and at that time new wiring was put in throughout the basement but we cannot seem to find out where they ran it too. I guess it'll just be a search as soon as I get time.

k2

06:32AM | 11/13/03
Member Since: 06/06/03
1250 lifetime posts
I'd try shutting off the breakers for the new wiring, one by one, and see what they control--but sometimes even this isn't obvious (for example, the furnace circuit).

Did they also do some other updating (like in the kitchen?)...this might provide a clue. My house is only 22 years old and I've tried to label the panel well--but there are still a few circuit breakers I don't have much clue about...

Tom O

06:37AM | 11/13/03
Member Since: 09/17/02
487 lifetime posts
Some old K&T wiring is still in good shape. The places that you should check are in the boxes above light fixtures, even if the fixture looks fairly new. What you're looking for is to see if the insulation has been damaged from heat. With the power off, see if the insulation crumbles in your fingers when you squeeze it. If it does, definitely time for replacement.

As for the GFI outlets, this is a second best stop gap measure. There is no replacement for a real equipment ground wire that is run with the circuit conductors, Also, there are some appliances, of the plug in variety, that are required by the NEC to be grounded.

Tom

electricmanscott

03:26AM | 11/15/03
Member Since: 11/05/01
101 lifetime posts
Don't beleive everything a home inspector tells you.
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