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Get Rid of Knob and Tube Wiring

  • Transcript

    LESLIE: Alright, now we’re going to talk to Joseph in Delaware about replacing some wiring in the home.

    What makes you want to do this, Joseph? What’s going on?

    JOSEPH: I just replaced a ceiling fixture in my kids’ bedroom and when I pulled the old fixture, I had knob-and-tube wiring left over from a rehab that was done back six years ago.

    TOM: Uh-oh, is that still alive?

    LESLIE: Now was it actually still working or was it just left there?

    JOSEPH: No, actually it’s still working.

    TOM: Hmm.

    JOSEPH: I had thought that when I moved into the house the only knob-and-tube system line was in the porch but, as I just found out, it’s also in my kids’ bedroom in the ceiling.

    TOM: Yeah, that’s typical. You know, a lot of times when people upgrade their electrical service in an old house where they have knob-and-tube wiring, you think that you’ve got it all but the truth is that most of that wiring is inside the walls in the places that it’s hardest to get. So it’s not unusual for you to find that and my advice would be for whenever you find knob-and-tube wiring, get rid of it.

    Now if you’re not familiar with what knob-and-tube wiring is, for those that have never seen this, it’s a wiring system that was used in the 1930s that consists of ceramic tubes. Wherever a wire passed through a beam, it went through a ceramic tube; and then whenever it went along a beam, it was sort of hung off the beam on a ceramic insulator. And the reason that it was done that way is because it’s designed to be an air-cooled system.

    But now, in a modern house where you have it like running through an attic and then somebody goes and throws insulation around it, it’s no longer air-cooled, so it becomes overheated …

    LESLIE: Becomes a huge fire hazard.

    TOM: It is a fire hazard. And it’s also ungrounded and it’s ungroundable. So it’s a really antiquated wiring system and if you have it, wherever you find those circuits, you really ought to replace them with modern wiring.

    Joseph, does that answer your question?

    JOSEPH: It does in fact. Thank you very much.

    TOM: You’re welcome. Thanks so much for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.

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