How to Safely Replace an Old Knob and Tube Wiring System

Knob and tube wiring was commonly installed in homes built before 1930. While it served its purpose for decades, this outdated system can be dangerous by today's electrical standards. Replacing knob and tube wiring entirely is the only way to make your home's electrical system truly safe. This in-depth guide will walk you through the full process of replacing knob and tube wiring safely.

Dangers of Knob and Tube Wiring

Knob and tube wiring lacks many modern safety features that are standard in modern electrical systems. Here are some of the main risks posed by knob and tube wiring:

Fire Hazard

Electrical Shock Risk

Inability to Support Modern Electrical Loads

Insurance Issues

Why Complete Replacement is Necessary

Some homeowners consider repairing sections of damaged knob and tube wiring rather than replacing the entire system. However, experts strongly warn against this.

Partial repairs on old wiring are considered unreliable and unsafe. The CPSC and Consumer Reports recommend complete removal and replacement of knob and tube wiring for the following reasons:

The consensus among electricians and home safety experts is that complete replacement of the old wiring system is the only lasting solution. I strongly recommend fully replacing knob and tube wiring for significantly improved safety.

Finding a Qualified Electrician

Replacing your home's electrical system is highly complex. It should only be done by a licensed electrician experienced in safely removing old knob and tube wiring.

When hiring an electrician, make sure to:

Overview of the Replacement Process

Replacing the entire knob and tube wiring system in a home is a major undertaking. The general process involves:

Initial Inspection and Planning

Install New Electrical Panel

Running New Wiring

Installation of GFCIs

Removing Old Accessories

Testing and Certification

Proper planning, skilled installation, and attention to safety are crucial in knob and tube replacement. Rushing the job or cuting corners risks creating major hazards.

Cost and Timeframe

The cost and timeframe to replace knob and tube wiring depends on factors like:

As a general guideline, you can expect:

Getting multiple quotes is the best way to estimate costs for your specific home. Adding wiring upgrades at the same time (like wiring for ceiling fans) may increase cost but can be worthwhile.

Budget appropriately and consider the project an important safety investment. The value and safety gains are well worth the cost.

Summary of Key Points

Replacing knob and tube wiring is a major undertaking, but brings your home's electrical system up to modern safety standards. Take the time to hire the right electrician and budget appropriately. The peace of mind of safe and reliable wiring is well worth the effort.