How to Safely Replace Your Home’s Knob and Tube Wiring

How to Safely Replace Your Home's Knob and Tube Wiring


Replacing old knob and tube wiring in your home can significantly reduce your fire risk and allow you to upgrade to modern electrical capacity. However, working with electrical systems can be extremely dangerous if proper precautions are not taken. In this guide, I will walk through the complete process of safely replacing knob and tube wiring, from assessing your existing system to hiring a licensed electrician for the replacement work.

Assessing Your Existing Knob and Tube Wiring

The first step is to understand exactly what kind of knob and tube wiring you have in your home. This old wiring system was phased out in the 1930s, but may still be present in older homes. Here's what to look for:

Thoroughly inspect your attic, basement, crawlspaces, and garage for these signs of old wiring. Check inside walls by removing electrical covers if possible. Consult an electrician if you are unsure about any observed wiring.

Dangers and Limitations of Knob and Tube Wiring

Once you have confirmed knob and tube wiring exists in your home, it's important to understand the potential hazards and limitations:

Replacing knob and tube wiring throughout your home is the only way to fully address these risks. Piecemeal repairs or extensions from the old system are not recommended.

Hiring a Licensed Electrician

Electrical work should only be performed by a licensed electrician, as there is a real risk of injury, fire, or even death if wiring is handled improperly.

When hiring an electrician:

A quality electrician will also pull any required permits and schedule inspections of the work by your local building department.

Overview of the Replacement Process

Replacing knob and tube wiring involves either running all-new wiring or, in some cases, installing new wires alongside the old. Here is a basic overview:

The scope of work will vary considerably based on your home's design. A farmhouse may require complete rewiring, while a newer home may only need minor upgrades.

Key Safety Precautions During the Replacement Process

Your electrician should follow a number of important safety precautions while replacing knob and tube wiring:

Your home's safety depends on careful, professional electrical work. Don't attempt DIY wiring projects unless you are absolutely certain you have the training and experience to do so safely.

Completing the Project and Wrapping Up

Once the new wiring system is installed throughout your home, the outlets, lights, and appliances can be connected. At this point, your electrician will:

With your new, modern wiring system in place, you'll gain safety, capacity, and enjoy reduced electrical fire risks. Just be sure to get the required permits and inspections to stay compliant with local codes. You'll likely need to notify your insurance company as well.

While the process can seem daunting, replacing knob and tube wiring is a smart investment for your home's safety and functionality. By following the guidelines I've outlined and hiring a professional electrician, you can complete the project smoothly and safely. Let me know if you have any other questions!