Should I Be Concerned About Knob and Tube Wiring?

Quick Facts: Knob and Tube Wiring

Knob and tube wiring was a type of home electrical wiring that was first used in the late 19th century and remained the standard type of electrical system for homes until the 1950s. These systems are made from insulated copper wiring, fed through wood beams, and secured by porcelain knobs and tubes. Unlike modern electrical systems, knob and tube wiring do not have a ground wire. Though knob and tube wires are insulated with rubber or cloth, home insulation cannot be installed over knob and tube wiring due to overheating and fire risk.

Modern electrical wiring systems are significantly safer and more effective. Consequently, homeowners who own properties with knob and tube wiring are encouraged to replace these old systems with modern ones.

You should consider replacing your knob and tube wiring if:

  • You are planning on adding or replacing your home insulation
  • You are having a hard time getting home insurance because of the knob and tube wiring system
  • You are experiencing frequent electrical problems
  • Your system is in bad condition
  • You have home improvement projects that require a more advanced, sophisticated electrical system

Homes with knob and tube wiring are two-prong electrical systems. Many modern appliances and devices require three-prong grounded outlets. This can make things difficult when homeowners with knob and tube electrical systems want to upgrade their homes.

What Is the Likelihood That I Have Knob and Tube Wiring?

If your home was built before 1950, it might have had knob and tube wiring at some point. And while most homes have been upgraded, some properties in the Atlanta area still have knob and tube wiring. Generally, homeowners with knob and tube wiring know that this is what they have. However, if unsure, look in your basement, attic, or crawlspace and look for white porcelain knobs and exposed wiring.

If you don’t see any knob and tube wiring indications but still suspect you may have this type of wiring in some areas of your home, call Lightning Bug Electric to schedule an electrical inspection. We will review your home’s system and help you understand what you are working with, its current condition, and whether you need to start planning a wiring replacement.

How to Upgrade Knob and Tube Wiring

You may wonder if leaving your knob and tube wiring alone is okay. Generally speaking, if well-maintained, knob and tube wiring is safe. However, at this point, these systems are very old and considered obsolete. Over time, even a well-maintained system will suffer from wear and tear. In particular, knob and tube wiring can become brittle over time. There is also a greater risk of electrical fires due to the addition of home insulation and the additional burden of modern appliances.

If you have knob and tube wiring in your home, we recommend you begin planning to replace it.

Replacing knob and tube wiring is a job for a professional electrician, and homeowners should never attempt this project on their own. The first step in replacing knob and tube wiring is to enlist help from a licensed electrical contractor experienced in handling these types of electrical upgrades, like Lightning Bug Electric. A good electrician, like ours, can guide you through the process, from planning to removing the knob and tube wiring to installing your new electrical system.

While waiting to replace your knob and tube wiring, you should:

  • Have your existing system inspected and regularly maintained by a licensed electrical contractor
  • Convert your outlets to GFCI outlets
  • Avoid overloading your circuits and do not run too many appliances at once
  • Have any issues or problems repaired asap by an experienced electrician
  • Research the electricians you are considering using and get quotes from multiple electricians

Replacing your knob and tube wiring can be expensive, depending on the size of your home and the current condition of your wiring. In some cases, a full home rewiring job can exceed $10,000.

Though this price may feel overwhelming, it’s important to note that you do not need to complete the rewiring process all at once. It can be done in stages. We recommend that you begin your rewiring project by replacing the knob and tube wiring in your bathrooms, kitchen, and other areas where water is present (laundry rooms, garages, etc.).

Contact Lightning Bug Electric to discuss your rewiring options with one of our electrical contractors today. We proudly serve the Atlanta Metro area and can help you bring your electrical system up to code so that you can rest easily.