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.
In total 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. It is the insurance companies that request it to be removed. The wiring can not handle modern appliances and with good reason.
Knob and tube is still acceptable if left alone, although with current code upgrades that is not always possible.
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……….
What year did they stop using knob and tube wiring?
Knob and tube wiring was introduced in the late 1800s for homes. It is also known as open wiring. The wiring was installed to allow for quick repairs. This type of wiring can’t handle modern appliances, so it has become a concern for homeowners because of liability issues with insurance companies.
In total, knob and tube wiring is legal in Canada under section 12 of the Canadian Electrical Code. Often referred to as open wiring, homes built in the 1930s still have knob and tube present. It is the insurance companies that request it be removed when you are looking to insure your home or have them do an inspection. They don’t want to deal with the liability should there be a fire caused by this type of electrical connection.
Can knob and tube be grounded?
Knob and tube wiring is not grounded. It is often said that it cannot be grounded because of the way the wires are installed. This is not true. There are a variety of ways to ground knob and tube wiring, including with a specialized grounding wire, bonding wire, or even by simply making up a metal box which can then be grounded to any grounding rod or other grounding source.
There are many misconceptions about knob and tube wiring that this article will hopefully clear up. Knob and tube wiring has been used for decades in both homes and buildings. It has been adapted for use with modern appliances and is still legal in Canada if installed according to code. If you have questions about the installation of your home’s electrical system or whether your home’s wiring complies with current regulations, please contact an electrician for more information!
Can I replace knob and tube myself?
The answer to the question is no. In order for knob and tube wiring to be removed, an electrician needs to come out and assess the wiring. If it is deemed that the wiring can be replaced then a licensed contractor will need to do the job with a permit from your home’s insurance company.
In conclusion, if you haven’t been living in a house built in the 1930s for any length of time, there is a good chance you don’t have knob and tube. Though they were once commonplace in most homes, with their increasing risk of fire hazard they are mostly found only in older homes.
Can you have 3 prong outlet with knob and tube wiring?
The short answer is yes, but it will be more complicated than if you had modern wiring.
Most of the time, the knob and tube wiring was installed on a separate line coming from the breaker panel. This means that you can replace the knob and tube by simply running the 3 prong outlet on its own line. If there is no separate line, then it may be possible to replace the knob and tube with modern wiring.
If you can not run a new line that it is considered to be acceptable by installing a gfci in place of the 2 prong outlet. This will act like a false ground. Here are some gfcis
This will depend on how old your home is or if your house has been renovated in any way since it was built. It is important to know this information before you try to install anything new for safety reasons.
Understanding what type of electrical system you have will help you determine what options are available for replacing your knob and tube wiring with something more modern.
If you would like to see more on the products we recommend.