How to Safely Replace Knob and Tube Wiring in Your Old House

How to Safely Replace Knob and Tube Wiring in Your Old House


Replacing knob and tube wiring in an old house can seem like a daunting task, but with proper planning and safety precautions, it can be done safely by a homeowner. Knob and tube wiring was commonly installed in homes built before 1950 and lacks the insulation and safety features of modern electrical wiring. Over time, the insulation deteriorates, wires fray, and connections come loose, posing fire and electrocution hazards. Updating the wiring improves safety and allows you to enjoy the convenience of grounded outlets and modern electrical capacity. This guide will walk you through the key steps to safely replace knob and tube wiring yourself.

Dangers of Knob and Tube Wiring

Before deciding to rewire, it's important to understand the risks of keeping the outdated knob and tube wiring:

Replacing the old wiring eliminates these serious hazards.

Planning the Rewiring Project

Careful planning is crucial when taking on a large project like rewiring a home. Follow these planning steps:

Consult an Electrician

Research and Education

Create a Wiring Diagram

Obtain Necessary Permits

Purchase Materials and Tools

Safety Tips for Rewiring

Replacing old wiring comes with inherent hazards. Follow these tips to ensure safety:

Turn Off Power at Main Breaker

Work on Non-Energized Wires Only

Wear Protective Gear

One Circuit at a Time

Use GFCIs and Avoid Overloads

Step-by-Step Rewiring Process

With proper planning and safety steps completed, you're ready to replace the old knob and tube wiring. Follow this general process:

1. Turn Off Power and Inspect Existing Wiring

2. Remove Old Wiring

3. Install New Wiring and Boxes

4. Connect Switches, Outlets and Lights

5. Install New Breakers

6. Have Work Inspected

7. Turn Power Back On and Test

Consider Hiring an Electrician

While a DIY rewiring project can save money over hiring an electrician, it isn't for everyone. If you lack electrical skills or feel uncomfortable working with wiring, consider hiring a licensed electrician to guarantee safe and proper rewiring. They can also handle tricky tasks like replacing service panels. Get multiple quotes to find reasonable rates.

Replacing hazardous knob and tube wiring improves home safety and functionality but requires diligent planning and precaution when tackling as a DIY project. Follow the guidance in this article to ensure you safely upgrade the wiring in your vintage home. Stay tuned for more DIY wiring tips and guides!