Updating Your Home’s Knob-and-Tube Wiring to Meet Modern Safety Standards

Updating Your Home's Knob-and-Tube Wiring to Meet Modern Safety Standards

What is Knob-and-Tube Wiring?

Knob-and-tube wiring was an early standardized method of electrical wiring used in buildings in North America from about 1880 to the 1940s. It consisted of single insulated copper conductors run within wall or ceiling cavities, passing through joist and stud drill-holes via protective porcelain insulating tubes, and supported on nailed-down porcelain knob insulators.

This old wiring system lacks grounding wires and the insulation around the wires becomes brittle with age, leading to breaks in the wiring and fire hazards. While knob-and-tube wiring was safe when it was installed correctly and has served many homes well for decades, it does not meet today's electrical safety standards and should be updated.

Why Upgrade from Knob-and-Tube Wiring?

There are several important reasons to update old knob-and-tube wiring:

How to Upgrade Knob-and-Tube Wiring

Replacing knob-and-tube wiring throughout a home is a major project that requires planning and licensed electricians. Here is an overview of the process:

Hire a Licensed Electrician

Plan the New Wiring System

Install New Wiring and Components

Remove Old Wiring

Obtain Inspections and Documentation

Costs of Replacing Knob-and-Tube Wiring

Upgrading home wiring is a major investment, with costs influenced by:

Typical range: $8,000 to $15,000 for a full rewire of a 2,000 sq ft home, but costs can be much higher. Get multiple quotes.

Is it Worth It?

The costs are substantial, but the benefits for safety, reliability, resale value, insurance, and peace of mind often make wiring upgrades a smart investment. Many homeowners schedule upgrades when doing major renovations or before selling their home.

Prioritize hazardous knob-and-tube circuits like those near water or supplying major appliances first. A phased approach spreads costs over time. Seek rebates, tax credits, or financing options to help fund major wiring projects.

Upgrading old knob-and-tube wiring improves safety and prepares a home for modern electrical needs. Planning carefully and hiring professional electricians ensures the project goes smoothly.