How to Safely Replace Ancient Knob and Tube Wiring

Knob and tube wiring was commonly used in homes built before 1950. This antiquated electrical system features wires that are suspended between porcelain knobs and run through porcelain tubes. While knob and tube wiring was suitable for the electrical needs of the past, it can be dangerous and insufficient for modern households. Replacing this outdated wiring is an essential safety measure.

Dangers of Knob and Tube Wiring

Knob and tube wiring poses several safety hazards:

Why You Should Replace Knob and Tube Wiring

Given the safety risks, it's crucial to replace knob and tube wiring. Here are some key reasons you should make this wiring update:

How to Replace Knob and Tube Wiring

Replacing knob and tube wiring is a project best left to licensed electricians. An expert can safely and effectively remove old wiring and install modern systems. Here is an overview of the process:

1. Hire a Licensed Electrician

Only hire a fully licensed, bonded, and insured electrician experienced with rewiring projects. Ensure they pull all required local permits. Verify they follow all applicable building codes.

2. Develop a Rewiring Plan

The electrician should evaluate your electrical needs and inspect the existing wiring. They will then develop a rewiring plan detailing all required updates, materials, costs, and timeline.

3. Inspect Attics and Walls

To access all old wiring, the electrician may need to cut holes in walls and ceilings. Make sure they contain dust and properly restore openings.

4. Remove Old Wiring

Knob and tube wiring is removed by disconnecting circuits, pulling wires out of tubes, removing porcelain knobs, and extracting wires from attics and walls. All old wiring is fully removed back to the electrical panel.

5. Install New Wiring System

The electrician runs all new wiring through walls and attics, installing boxes, circuits, switches, outlets, grounds, and other components according to electrical codes.

6. Add New Safety Features

Modern ground wires are connected. GFCI outlets are added to high-risk areas like kitchens and bathrooms. The panel is upgraded to breakers.

7. Patch and Restore Openings

After removing old wiring, the electrician will patch all holes and openings and repaint or restore finishes. All restoration is completed to match existing home decor.

8. Verify Proper Function

Thoroughly test all lights, switches, and outlets. Appliances and devices should operate properly without issues. The electrician obtains final inspection approval.

Cost to Replace Knob and Tube Wiring

The cost to replace knob and tube wiring often ranges from $3,000 to $8,000 or more depending on the size of your home. Key factors impacting total costs include:

While not cheap, the investment is worthwhile to keep your home and family safe. Some insurance companies also offer discounts after rewiring that can help offset costs.

Replacing antiquated knob and tube wiring is one of the best safety investments you can make for your home. Follow proper procedures and work with experienced electricians so the project goes smoothly. Your reward will be greatly reduced electrical and fire risks.