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  1. #11
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Sand Springs, OK
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    467

    Cool Re: Knob & Tube Wiring

    I know how they survived:> They smoked, did projects like quilting or knitting, chopped wood, cooked more difficult meals and read. They had a lot more kids because they probably weren't so stressed out in the bedroom because they were fighting over the remote.

    I was without power for a week in December and I nearly went out of my mind-- no vacuum, no washing machine, no dishwasher, only the fire place for heat and 2 kids at home to entertain. It's a good thing my sister's puppies were here or I think my boys and our dog would have been bored out of their minds. Battery powered radio was the only thing we had and I limited that to only a few hours.
    Debby in Oklahoma

  2. #12
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    Shamokin, Pa.
    Posts
    645

    Default Re: Knob & Tube Wiring

    Quote Originally Posted by debbysewn View Post
    I know how they survived:> They smoked, did projects like quilting or knitting, chopped wood, cooked more difficult meals and read. They had a lot more kids because they probably weren't so stressed out in the bedroom because they were fighting over the remote.

    I was without power for a week in December and I nearly went out of my mind-- no vacuum, no washing machine, no dishwasher, only the fire place for heat and 2 kids at home to entertain. It's a good thing my sister's puppies were here or I think my boys and our dog would have been bored out of their minds. Battery powered radio was the only thing we had and I limited that to only a few hours.
    Preaching to the choir !!!
    Funny how we easily can revert back to our grandparents.

  3. #13
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Sand Springs, OK
    Posts
    467

    Default Re: Knob & Tube Wiring

    Quote Originally Posted by Ernie_Fergler View Post
    Preaching to the choir !!!
    Funny how we easily can revert back to our grandparents.

    lol, I think living with my grandparents helped me survive that ordeal. I know there were times when we--my grandmother and grandfather and myself sat and crocheted while the sun went down. No tv, no radio, no lamps on yet. Oh Grandma and I would knit sometimes but the click click noise often drove Grandpa out of the room. He couldn't take the sound of scissors cutting fabric or paper either. He was born in 1913 and she in 1919. My kids won't get to have those kinds of times with my parents or my husbands. ::sniff::
    Debby in Oklahoma

  4. #14
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    Shamokin, Pa.
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    645

    Default Re: Knob & Tube Wiring

    The job I am presently doing had a mixture K&T, early cloth sheathed Romex without ground, slightly newer Romex with a very thin ground wire present and new Romex. A real dogs breakfast.
    In the attic sitting are about a dozen or so games from the 60s, would be my guess.
    Monopoly, Mousetrap, etc. Times change...

  5. #15
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Sand Springs, OK
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    467

    Default Re: Knob & Tube Wiring

    Quote Originally Posted by Ernie_Fergler View Post
    In the attic sitting are about a dozen or so games from the 60s, would be my guess.
    Monopoly, Mousetrap, etc. Times change...
    Cool, I found similar in houses I've rented, Stratego, Ouija Boards... old games when I was a kid, lol.
    Debby in Oklahoma

  6. #16

    Smile Re: Knob & Tube Wiring

    If isolated and protected inside walls and ceilings, or simply undamaged wherever it is, knob and tube wiring is every bit as good today as it was the day it was installed. If its design caused fires, then how would your house have kept from burning down over the last hundred years? Copper is copper forever, so the wires are never going to go bad. In fact, since the hot and neutral conductors are run separately, two to four inches apart, there is very little chance for a short circuit.

    True, there probably is no ground at outlets (two prong only), so in the rare instance that a hot conductor inside a lamp or appliance is faulty and makes contact with a conductive part of the appliance housing, there will not be a path to ground that would blow a fuse. Instead, you may touch the appliance and get a shock, but that's been a risk for everyone since the wiring was installed. If you're desperate for a ground wire in a particular location, it's sometimes easier to run one from the nearest water pipe or radiator rather that tear open walls and/or shell out the cash to completely re-wire a house.

    The most important rule is exactly the same as for any electrical wire of any age: Don't run more current through it than it was designed to handle. Knob and tube does not depend on air circulation for cooling any more than any other kind of household wiring. New or old, it's not supposed to get noticably warm in the first place. If it does, your drawing too much current through it. Look inside an outlet box or in the fuse box at the ends of the wires to see the gauge. If you find that the diameter of the copper conductor is the same as modern #14 copper wire, then the fuse or circuit breaker that supplies that circuit shouldn't be rated for more than 15 amps maximum. These wires won't get hot any quicker than brand new copper wires.

    If someone did make the mistake of putting in the wrong fuse, or a penny, and then you did run enough appliances to overload the wires, they may go longer before igniting anything since knob & tube wires are typically separated from building materials by ceramic knobs and tubes. Modern wiring would melt plastic insulation and then be directly in contact with other conductors and wood..., although if insulation melted causing a short, this might actually be a good thing for it would blow any fuse and shut down the current.

    My conclusion is, if it ain't broke, don't fix it. If the old wiring continues to serve you well, don't tear the house apart to replace something that works. If, on the other hand, you need grounded safety devices in high risk (wet) locations, and/or your old wiring does not have the capacity for all of the appliances you want to operate (greater than 15 amps per circuit say), then just ADD additional new wiring exactly where you need it, and leave the rest alone. Far cheaper, less damaging to the house, and fulfills your actual need most efficiently.

  7. #17
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    Omaha, Neb.
    Posts
    26

    Default Re: Knob & Tube Wiring

    I agree with the last post.

    Another suggestion: Don't install insulation directly around the wires. Some experts say that can lead to overheating and possible fires.

    My understanding is you can install GFIs for shock protection and get three-prong outlets.

  8. #18
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    The Great White North
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    4,045

    Default Re: Knob & Tube Wiring

    On its own, knob & tube wiring is not inherently a problem.
    It is wiring that has been abused that is the potential hazard…. also you have to consider the age of the wiring at 60+ years old.The rubber and cloth insulation around the knob & tube wiring breaks down over time and becomes brittle .... a potential fire and safety hazard.

    For example….. you take down a light fixture and all the insulation falls off …. imagine having the insulating cover falling off inside a wall cavity.

    The connections for knob & tube wiring are open and visible. The wires are spliced and soldered together with older style fibrous electrical tape around the splices. All modern wiring has connections that are made inside metal junction boxes.

    Most old houses did not have many electrical outlets. As our electrical needs changed, unsuspecting homeowners would “add” outlets in the rooms by splicing into the existing old wires, making improper splices and improper taping. I have seen many splices wrapped with things like duct tape, hockey tape, masking tape, scotch tape, and even band-aids…… sometimes there is nothing at all over the splice.

    Over the years when additional outlets are added, it could cause the fuses (or breakers) to blow. The unsuspecting homeowner then puts in 25 or 30 amp fuses to “solve” the problem. Allowing 25-30 amps to flow through these wires causes them to overheat ..... causing the insulation and copper wire to become brittle.
    The brittle wires …. usually at the splice …. have a higher risk of arching to something flammable.


    My understanding is you can install GFIs for shock protection and get three-prong outlets.
    You can replace your 2 prong receptacles with GFCI receptacles or protect the circuits with GFCI breakers and put in 3 prong receptacles. But ..... you still will not have a ground wire protection on your appliances ..... GFCI only protects you.

  9. #19
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    Fayette County, Ohio
    Posts
    5,622

    Default Re: Knob & Tube Wiring

    Canuk may not be to bright but he's absolutely correct.
    Jack
    Be sure you live your life, because you are a long time dead.-Scottish Proverb

  10. #20
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    The Great White North
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    4,045

    Default Re: Knob & Tube Wiring

    Jack .... thanks ... I think

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