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Knob and Tube Wiring

Knob-and-tube wiring (sometimes abbreviated K&T wiring) was an early standardized method of electrical wiring in buildings, in common use in North America from about 1880 to the 1930s. It consisted of single-insulated copper conductors run within wall or ceiling cavities, passing through joist and stud;drill-holes via protective porcelain insulating tubes, and supported along their length on nailed-down porcelain knob insulators. Where conductors entered a wiring device such as a lamp or switch, or were pulled into a wall, they were protected by flexible cloth insulating sleeving called loom. The first insulation was asphalt-saturated cotton cloth, then rubber became common. Wire splices in such installations were twisted together for good, mechanical strength, then soldered and wrapped with rubber insulating tape and friction tape(asphalt saturated cloth), or made inside metal junction boxes.

Knob and tube wiring was eventually displaced from interior wiring systems because of the high cost of installation compared with use of power cables, which combined both power conductors of a circuit in one run (and which later included grounding conductors).

Knob-and-tube wiring can be made with high current carrying capacity. However, most existing residential knob-and-tube installations, dating to before 1940, have fewer branch circuits than is desired today. While these installations were adequate for the electrical loads at the time of installation, modern households use a range and intensity of electrical equipment unforeseen at the time. Household power use increased dramatically following World War II, due to the wide availability of new electrical appliances and devices

Currently, the United States National Electrical Code forbids the use of loose, blown-in, or expanding foam insulation over K&T wiring. This is because K&T is designed to let heat dissipate to the surrounding air. As a result, energy efficiency upgrades that involve insulating previously uninsulated walls usually also require replacement of the wiring in affected homes. However, California, Washington, Nebraska, and Oregon have modified the NEC to conditionally allow insulation around K&T. They did not find a single fire that was attributed to K&T, and permit insulation provided the home first passes inspection by an electrician

As existing K&T wiring gets older, insurance companies may deny coverage due to a perception of increased risk. Several companies will not write new homeowners policies at all unless all K&T wiring is replaced, or an electrician certifies that the wiring is in good condition. Also, many institutional lenders are unwilling to finance a home with the relatively low-capacity service typical of K&T wiring, unless the electrical service is upgraded.Partial upgrades, where low demand lighting circuits are left intact, may be acceptable to some insurers.

Call Wagner Electric today for your free quote to have your old wiring replaced

(920)946-0372

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