Got Knob And Tube Wiring? 3 Reasons Why It Could Be Putting Your Home And Life In Jeopardy

Construction & Contractors Blog

While it's a widely held belief that knob and tube wiring is inherently dangerous, it is not dangerous as long as it is in good working order. However, this type of wiring was used from 1880 to 1930, so most of the wiring lurking behind the walls in older homes has some issues due to age. Additionally, knob and tube wiring has been made dangerous, in many cases, due to upgrades within the home and within the electrical system itself. Following are three reasons why your knob and tube wiring might be dangerous.

1. Additions and Alterations

Knob and tube wiring can only accommodate up to 12 circuits within a home. However, most modern homes have numerous dedicated circuits to accommodate the stove, washer and dryer, furnace, microwave, dishwasher, garbage disposal and refrigerator. And these are only a tip of the iceberg. There are also circuits for lights and electrical outlets. 

To accommodate the needs of modern living, many houses with knob and tube wiring have had their electrical systems altered or added to, which overloads the whole system and makes it unsafe. So if you have modern amenities in your old home, it's probably not safe to continue using knob and tube wiring.

2. Thermal Insulation and Fire Hazards

Knob and tube wiring was installed using strict open-air standards that prevented fires, which means there had to be a lot of space or open air around the wires. You see, knob and tube wiring gets hotter than other types of wiring, which is why nothing was allowed near it. This poses a problem for homes that have had loose insulation blown into either the attic or wall cavities. Many times this type of insulation lays directly on top of and around the wiring, posing a major fire hazard.

3. Age and Wear

Knob and tube wiring is old. And as such, it is susceptible to wear and tear that can break down the integrity of the wires, resulting in unsafe conditions. While this type of wiring is protected by thick insulation, critters, heat and other factors can cause damage or cause the insulation to deteriorate over time. 

If you have knob and tube wiring, it isn't necessarily dangerous, but there's a good chance that things have happened throughout the years to make it unsafe. If you're worried about your wiring, have it inspected by a trusted residential electrician who will be able to tell you if your system is still in good working order and safe for your family.

To learn more, contact a residential electrician company like Excel Electric Inc


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