Many people with older homes ask the question is knob and tube wiring legal. If you still have it in your home then you will want to read this article.
As of June 3 2020 as per section 12 of the Canadian Electrical Code knob and tube wiring is legal. Often referred to as open wiring, homes built in the 1930s still have knob and tube present.
Is Knob And Tube Wiring Legal With Insurance Companies
Some insurance companies still except knob and tube under your policy. They will usually charge a premium under a risk extension. They will also make you get a proper inspection from a certified electrical company with an inspection report. The knob and tube will need to be confirmed for fuse sizing and safety.
Most insurance company will not except knob and tube under your homeowners policy. In fact the list of companies that will except it are getting less and less each year, Even with a formal inspection report from the inspection authority they will still not except it.
They deem it as a fire hazard due to the age and the degrading insulation on the conductors. Furthermore they can not guarantee that it will not be modified or added to so they just won’t cover it.
How Do I Know If My Knob And Tube Wiring Is Still Good
Have a look at the condition of the wires in the basement. Move the wire back and forth a bit to feel if it is brittle. If you head it crack when you move it then the insulation is dried out and the wire needs to be replaced,
Check the porcelain knobs for burn marks. Check to see if it has the proper fuse sizing 15 amps in the panel. Changes are if it has been over fused it will cause heat which also drys out the insulation.
Do I Need To Completely Remove The Knob And Tube
No you do not need to remove the knob and tube. Have the electrician cut it off where it it exposed between the basement joists. As long as it has been disconnected on both ends you are not required to tear or open up walls to remove it.
You can do the same to it in the attic. The porcelain knobs can be removed as well. Have your electrician expose of the wire for you.
Is Knob And Tube Wiring Still Safe To Have
Some professionals say yes and some say no. An electrician will tell you no. They want to up sell you a new wiring job. At the end of the day, knob and tube was designed for the electrical needs of the 1930s to 1950s which we all know even a toaster these days draws for power than knob and tube wiring is safe for.
We have see an entire 2 story home run off only 2 knob and tube circuits. This is just not safe. Your should contact your local electrician to get a wiring quote to have it replaced.
Can I Get A Mortgage With Knob And Tube Wiring In The Home
Most times when you apply for a mortgage the bank will require an inspection report to finalize the the deal. This will require you to get a proper inspection from your local inspection authority.
Your inspection department could be a local building inspection. It could also get your local power company. This usually involves having an electrician pull a permit to book an appointment.
Will A Home Inspector Fail Knob And Tub Wiring
A good idea is to hire a home inspector to pick out the deficiencies in the home. They offer a full range of services across a multitude of trades.
These home inspectors usually have special trading in areas on your home. Most likely they will have enough training to refer to basic code rules.
Another good idea is to hire a home inspector as a seller. It is also a good idea to have the buyer hire a different home inspector so that you can compare reports to keep it honest.
Top Five Ways To Identify If You Have Knob And Tube In Your Home
- Knob and tube old style switch
You know the one with the 2 old push buttons on it and the brass color plate. We have all seen them at one point or another. They also come in the old toggle style and color be black in color.
2. Old style wall outlet.
The old style wall outlet or commonly referred to “two prong” is common with old un grounded knob and tube wiring. This means the wire itself has no ground increasing the risk of electric shock to the user.
3. Old style light fixture
The old style light fixture is a hanging fixture with the turn dial right on it. It usually has no shade and just a bare bulb because the shade is long gone or broken. Probably because it was hanging in the first place and was knocked or bumped.
4. Old style porcelain knob
The old style knob is white in color and usually about 2 inches long and an inch in diameter. It will have an old rusty nail drove through the center of it to attach it to the joist. This was used to attach the wire along and fasten it securely so it could go to the next point of termination for a device.
5. Old style tube
The old style tube is also white in color. This would run through the joist to insulate the conductor or wire as it passes on to the next point of connection. The connection point was usually wrapped in hockey tape.
More on the type of devices we recommend for your knob and tube rewire here.
More on the cost to replace knob and tube wiring here.