09:13AM | 09/30/02
Member Since: 09/29/02
4 lifetime posts
My boyfriend and I are in the process of buying our first home, originally built in 1917. During the inspection last Friday, we found that although the panel has been replaced and new outlets and switches have been installed in the majority of rooms, the existing knob and tube wiring is still in place for existing switches and outlets.

From what we could see in the rafters in the basement, it (the K&T) all looks to be in good condition. No fraying is evident and it looks in MUCH better condition than some of the homes we looked at during our search.

We thought it odd that the homeowners would elect to have a new panel installed (obviously to handle the new wiring?) but not upgrade the existing K&T. How common is this?

Should we have an electrician come look at the wiring to ensure it's safe? Any ideas on what it would cost to replace the K&T in a 1200 sq ft home? We know nothing about this, as we're first time any advice given is GREATLY appreciated. Thanks in advance!

Electrical Inspector

02:31PM | 09/30/02
Member Since: 09/27/02
73 lifetime posts
It is very common for lending institutions to require minimum 100A services.

however, the K&T should be examined.

there are many concerns about older K&T, even if in what is apparently good condition , not the least of which is the 'grounding' conductor, or the 3rd protective conductor that constitutes the odd roundish 3rd hole in a redceptacle.

What type of receptacles do you have?


08:10PM | 09/30/02
Member Since: 09/03/02
3 lifetime posts
The K&T in the basement will typically
be in the best condition. There is no building insulation so heat disapates
faster, cooler environment, and humidity
is higher.

The attic is hot, dry, and the K&T buried
in insulation often becomes brittle.

The most severe damage is typically at the
devices(receptacles,switches) and most notably at ceiling light fixture connections.

Often these ceiling lights will not even have
a box for the termination. The wires are stuffed in the ceiling and the light fixture
is screwed to the lath.

You mentioned new service, but not additional
new wiring. In 1917 they did not have microwaves and all the other neat appliances we take for granted. You should have new circuits for all major appliances and bathrooms(hairdryers).

At the very least have it examined. Some follow to remove all K&T, others will say keep what's good.

I myself live in a house built in 1917.
My insurance company would not insure the house with K&T, but it's not a big expense when you're an electrician.

I myself would not feel comfortable letting my children sleep in a house with K&T.

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