Is It Important to Replace the Knob-and-Tube Wiring in the Attic of Your Old Home?

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There were many great things about the Roarin’ 20s that we still appreciate, but knob-and-tube wiring isn’t one of them. Knob-and-tube systems, also known as K&T, were used from the 1880s to around the 1940s and still exist in older homes. 

This electrical system incorporates ceramic knobs that hold wires in place and uses ceramic tubes as casings for running wires through floor and wall studs. Unfortunately, while it was an exciting innovation in its day, K&T poses a fire hazard and should be replaced with safer, more efficient modern wiring.

Does My Home Have Knob-and-Tube Wiring?

If your home is approximately 100 years old and has never had the wiring system updated, the chances are good that it still has K&T. This old wiring may be in the attic covered by insulation, or it could be hidden in the interior walls. The fact that it’s difficult to locate is one of the reasons K&T is considered a hazard.

A licensed home inspector or electrician can inspect your home—including all switches, receptacles, circuit boxes, and light fixtures—to see if any knob-and-tube wiring still exists. If found, it should be removed and replaced as soon as possible.

Why Is This Wiring Considered Dangerous?

The number one danger associated with K&T is simply its age. Over time, wires fray and sag, making them more of a fire hazard and more prone to causing electrical shocks. Other problems with knob-and-tube wiring include the following:

  • K&T cannot accommodate three-prong plugs or ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) outlets
  • K&T wires may be insulated with deteriorated fiber or varnished materials
  • K&T is not rated for moisture, making it dangerous for kitchens, bathrooms, laundry rooms, or outdoor outlets
  • K&T is easily hidden in insulation

If you’re living in an older home, don’t assume the electrical system is safe unless an expert has thoroughly inspected it first. It’s always best to hire an expert to handle your home’s electrical work.

Benefits of Replacing K&T

You’ll enjoy many benefits when you replace dangerous knob-and-tube wiring with new, modern equipment. The most important one is, of course, the peace of mind that comes with knowing your home is as safe as possible. Other reasons to replace K&T are:

  • Decrease in electricity bills
  • Increase in the saleability of your home
  • Ability to run more and larger appliances safely and dependably

Ultimately, replacing old wiring is just good sense. You can’t expect modern appliances to run efficiently on a wiring system that was built 100 years ago. Your family’s safety and quality of life depend on your home having a safe, dependable electrical system.

What Should I Do Next?

If you know or suspect there is K&T wiring in your home, call Attic Projects for help. Our trained inspectors can find and remove the outdated wiring, then replace it with a new electrical system. Call us to schedule a free inspection!

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