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Knob and Tube Wiring

March 22nd, 2019 No comments

Is Knob and Tube Wiring Safe?

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For those who relish the grandeur and charm of an historic home built in the 1950’s or earlier there is the possibility of your home having knob and tube wiring.  The older the home, the more likely this will be.   Knob and tube wiring was a common wiring method used beginning in the 1870’s to the late 1940’s.

knob-and-tube wiring

Knob and tube wiring must meet specific NEC standards to be used in a home today.

Knob and Tube wiring is not inherently dangerous.

The dangers from this form of wiring arise from its age, failing insulation, improper modifications, and situations where building insulation covers the wires.  It has no ground wire and thus cannot service any three-pronged appliances or outlets.

NEC code and most local jurisdictions do not specifically say that knob and tube wiring is illegal, however there are very specific requirements if it is to be left installed and in use (NEC 2008 – article 394). Knob and tube wiring is only rated to be used in free air, uninsulated spaces.  It is also only rated for a load of 15 amps.  Many inspection jurisdictions will now require it to be removed for a permitted project or remodel.

What Should I do if I have Knob and Tube wiring in my home?

Realistically, complete replacement of the old wiring is the best option. The presence of knob and tube electrical wiring means the house was probably built 60 to 100+ years ago when this was the only wiring method available.

Demands on a home’s electrical system have increased significantly over time and old wiring cannot safely and reliably handle the electrical requirements of today’s lighting, appliances, and electronics.

rewiring old house that had knob and tube wiring

Rewiring a home that has knob and tube wiring will make it safer and more attractive to future buyers.

How much does it cost to replace Knob and Tube wiring?

If you decide to replace knob and tube wiring in your home, hire a professional electrician for the job.  Expect to pay around $10,000 to $20,000 to rewire a 1,500 to 3,000 square foot home.

Keep in mind that the resale value of your home will increase after this work is completed, so not only is your home safer for you and your family, your home is also now more desirable to potential future buyers.

How does Knob and Tube wiring affect insurance rates?

Insurance companies are wary of homes with knob and tube wiring and view them as a potential safety hazard, and therefore a claim waiting to happen. Premiums for policies for these homes can be high.  Most insurance companies will require an inspection by a certified electrical contractor.  If unsafe conditions are found, the insurance company will require the knob and tube wiring to be completely replaced prior to issuing or renewing a policy.  Many insurance companies will no longer insure homes with knob and tube wiring due to the risk.

Artisan Electric logoQuestions?

If you have questions regarding knob and tube wiring or need someone to inspect your home’s wiring, one of Artisan’s experienced electricians will be happy to arrange a time to stop by. Just give us a call at 765-414-3913.