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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
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    Question Modern outlets and ligh switches on K&T?

    I would say that 90% of my house has updated romex wiring but there are still a couple of light switches and outlets using K&T. I just repainted the inside of the house and updated all the outlets and switches but I have left the old K&T switches/outlets alone because they just dont look the same... those 70 switches are gnarly looking. Anyway, my question is... can I put modern light switches and outlets on those old K&T wires? Do I need to do anything special to do that? Do I need special switches or plugs? Thanks in advance guys... I read all the K&T threads and I couldnt find one where this question was asked.

    By the way... the casing around the K&T is in great shape... at least the wiring I can see

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Modern outlets and ligh switches on K&T?

    Quote Originally Posted by chaz7979 View Post
    I would say that 90% of my house has updated romex wiring but there are still a couple of light switches and outlets using K&T. I just repainted the inside of the house and updated all the outlets and switches but I have left the old K&T switches/outlets alone because they just dont look the same... those 70 switches are gnarly looking. Anyway, my question is... can I put modern light switches and outlets on those old K&T wires? Do I need to do anything special to do that? Do I need special switches or plugs? Thanks in advance guys... I read all the K&T threads and I couldnt find one where this question was asked.

    By the way... the casing around the K&T is in great shape... at least the wiring I can see
    Becareful the more you disturb K&T the insulation becomes brittle and crumbles. So the more you move it around the worse it becomes.

    Switches should be fine.
    But outlets today have ground terminals and K&T doesn't use a grounding conductor. If you replace them I suggest a GFI and use the labels in the box that says no ground is present. For further protection replace that circuits breaker with a new AFCI circuit breaker. good luck
    Harry

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Modern outlets and ligh switches on K&T?

    As for the light switches, you should be able to use any light switch for a replacement.

    It's good to hear that the insulation on the wires is in good shape. A lot of these installations aren't so lucky. If you do end up with some bad insulation, I recommend covering the wire with heat-shrink tubing if you can't replace the wire. Use a heat gun -- not a torch or lighter -- to set the tubing. You don't want to catch something on fire. It's a lot neater and works better than tape.

  4. #4
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    Oct 2008
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    Default Re: Modern outlets and ligh switches on K&T?

    So, I should be using those outlets that you see in kitchens and bathrooms anywhere in my house where K&T is running to the outlet?

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Modern outlets and ligh switches on K&T?

    Quote Originally Posted by chaz7979 View Post
    So, I should be using those outlets that you see in kitchens and bathrooms anywhere in my house where K&T is running to the outlet?
    correct the reason behind that is it will pick up a fault without a grounded outlet and trip the outlet.
    Harry

  6. #6
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    Aug 2007
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    Denver, CO
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    Default Re: Modern outlets and ligh switches on K&T?

    Here's a great article regarding receptacle replacement on K&T.

    http://ecmweb.com/mag/electric_repla...re_ungrounded/

  7. #7
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    Jan 2008
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    Cleveland, OH
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    Default Re: Modern outlets and ligh switches on K&T?

    Quote Originally Posted by kentvw View Post
    Here's a great article regarding receptacle replacement on K&T.

    http://ecmweb.com/mag/electric_repla...re_ungrounded/
    There's a section in that article that talks about K&T and mentions nuisance tripping -- is this implying that if you have K&T that you should NOT use GFCI receptacles?

    My house has lots of K&T and it's characterized, which I thought was typical, by the hots running off connecting outlets along one way and then the neutrals coming back along a totally different path. I think the article was alluding to this as being important.

    What I have done in situations where I have replaced a K&T receptacle is to replace it with a new, 2-prong receptacle. As everybody will cite chapter & verse, Thou shalt not use a three prong receptacle. Like the OP, I'd be interested in knowing if putting a GFCI would be OK.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
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    Default Re: Modern outlets and ligh switches on K&T?

    1. They sell 2 prong receptacles?
    2. Can I put K&T into a plastic new work box or does K&T have to go into a metal old work box?

  9. #9
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    Oct 2008
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    Default Re: Modern outlets and ligh switches on K&T?

    I noticed those 2 hole outlets at HD today... how do they even allow those things to be sold? I thought you had to have a ground???

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
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    Default Re: Modern outlets and ligh switches on K&T?

    I thought you had to have a ground???
    The only way you can have grounded outlets is to run ground wiring to the 3 prong outlets from the breaker panel.

    The 2 prong outlets are allowed to be used for homes without ungrounded wiring .... that system is grandfathered in if that type of wiring exists.
    "" an ounce of perception -- a pound of obscure "
    - Rush

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