How to Replace Old Knob and Tube Wiring in Your Home

How to Replace Old Knob and Tube Wiring in Your Home


Replacing old knob and tube wiring in your home can seem like a daunting task, but it is doable as a DIY project if you take the proper safety precautions. Knob and tube wiring was an early standardized method of electrical wiring used in buildings in the United States from about 1880 to the 1940s. It consists of insulated copper conductors run through ceramic knobs fastened to framing members, with tubes protecting the wires where they pass through walls and ceilings. While knob and tube wiring has lasted for many decades, it can be hazardous due to lack of grounding, overloading, deterioration, and improper modifications. Replacing it with modern electrical wiring greatly reduces fire and shock risks. This guide will walk you through the key steps I took to successfully replace the old knob and tube wiring in my home.

Things to Know Before Starting

Before diving into the wiring replacement process, there are some important things to understand about knob and tube wiring and the scope of the project:

Knob and Tube Wiring Facts

Key Planning Steps

Safety Gear Needed

Removing the Old Knob and Tube Wiring

The first step is removing the existing knob and tube wiring. This involves:

1. Turn Off Power and Install New Electrical Panel

This allows you to run new wiring through a modern, safer electrical panel.

2. Remove Visible Knob and Tube Wiring

3. Cut Open Walls and Remove Hidden Wiring

Running New Electrical Wiring

Once all the old wiring is removed, I was ready to run new cables:

1. Plan Circuit Map

2. Drill Holes Between Studs

3. Fish Wires Through Walls

4. Secure Wires to Studs

Follow building codes for proper wire gauge, connection methods, and circuit layouts.

Installing New Outlets, Switches, and Fixtures

The final stage is installing everything to utilize the new wiring:

1. Install New Outlet and Switch Boxes

2. Connect Wires to Outlets and Switches

3. Mount New Outlets, Switches, and Covers

4. Update All Fixtures

Thoroughly check for functioning, grounded circuits before reconnecting the main power.

Final Touches

To complete the project:

With perseverance and attention to safety, you can successfully upgrade from outdated knob and tube wiring to modern electrical circuits. While tedious, removing this hazard from your home is extremely rewarding for safety and resale value.