How to Safely Replace Knob and Tube Wiring in Your Historic Home

How to Safely Replace Knob and Tube Wiring in Your Historic Home


Replacing knob and tube wiring in a historic home can seem like a daunting task, but with proper planning and care, it can be done safely while preserving the historic character of your home. As the owner of a historic home, I want to upgrade to modern electrical service without damaging the structure and aesthetics that drew me to this house in the first place. In this guide, I'll share the steps I took to successfully replace the antiquated knob and tube wiring in my 1920s craftsman bungalow.

Researching Code Requirements and Permit Needs

Before doing any work, it's crucial to research local building codes and permit requirements. Electrical work can be complex, and cutting corners by avoiding permits and inspections can put your safety at risk.

I recommend reaching out to your local building department to find out:

Knowing the code requirements up front will inform the plan of action and prevent costly mistakes down the road. My local building department was helpful in explaining what was needed for my particular project.

Developing a Rewiring Plan

Once I understood the pertinent codes and permits, I could develop a rewiring plan. Key steps included:

Careful planning was crucial - I didn't want the house torn apart for longer than necessary!

Preparing for Rewiring

Before starting the rewiring, I prepared by:

By getting ready ahead of time, disruptions were minimized and the process went smoothly.

Executing the Rewiring

With proper planning completed, it was time to do the rewiring. As the homeowner, I actively assisted the electrician to keep costs down. Main steps included:

The electrician handled the technical details while I assisted with tasks like drilling holes and patching. Working together, we were able to rewire the entire house over 2 weekends.

Restoring and Finishing Touches

After the inspector approved the new wiring, I shifted focus to the finishing touches:

By taking care with the finishing touches, you'd never know the house contains all modern wiring inside its historic shell.


Rewiring a historic home while preserving its charm is very achievable if done thoughtfully. Have an electrician handle the technical details. Research codes and permits thoroughly. Cover surfaces for protection. Touch up all damage after the fact. Follow these tips and you can enjoy safe, modern wiring while keeping the historic spirit of your home intact. This process requires research, planning and care, but the peace of mind gained from upgraded electrical is well worth the effort.