Understanding Knob & Tube Wiring

In the early 1900’s throughout the 1940’s, knob and tube wiring was added to homes. If you aren’t sure if you have knob and tube wiring in your home, check the basement and attic. You’ll be able to spot these systems if you notice a white, ceramic spool-like knob. Keep in mind that sometimes you can’t spot the knob or tube because they are hidden in the walls of homes. Unfortunately, in this case, you can really only see them if you make holes in the walls.

Is Knob and Tube Wiring Legal?

Knob and tube electrical wiring isn’t illegal or required to be replaced but it is definitely an outdated wiring method. If you think about it, when homes were wired in the 1900’s they weren’t designed to handle the massive amount of electronics we use today. About 50-60 years ago, homes really weren’t designed to handle mundane appliances such as air conditioners, microwaves and dishwashers. Now, we have entire home theaters, laptops, desktops and tablets! We must make sure our wiring can handle all these appliances.

Dangers of Knob & Tube Wiring

The biggest risk with using outdated knob & tube wiring is that it poses a significant fire safety risk for your home and your appliances.

  • Appliance fire risk - There is only a neutral/hot wire so your appliances are at an enormous safety risk.
  • Structural fire risk - Knob and tube wiring was created to remain in the air and it’s protected by a heavy ceramic tube when/if exposed to wood. However, fluctuations over time can alter the correct structure. For instance, additional insulation in the attic can make the wires overheat.

Keeping Your Knob & Tube Wiring

A majority of insurance companies won’t insure or renew homes with knob and tube wiring. There is a chance that you can make some repairs without having to fix your entire system.

Here’s how to determine if your knob or tube is safe:

  • Have a professional check the condition of the wiring, devices, fuses and circuit breakers by scheduling an electrical safety inspection.
  • Replace circuits that have been modified, covered or damaged from insulation.
  • Add protection to eliminate fire risk and shock.

If you need help with your knob and tube wiring in Pearl River, contact Ryan Electrical Services. Feel free to fill out our contact form or give us a call at (845) 513-3344.

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