Buying a House with Knob & Tube Wiring
Without doubt, if you have purchased a grand old house with knob and tube wiring, you know that you will have to address this outdated wiring method at some point.
If the house is your “forever” home, whole rewiring is the right choice. The old K & T wiring and the very likely additions and alterations are better served by disconnecting and rewiring to the most up to date electrical code requirements. Rewiring an existing house is much more complex than a new home build, but with the right electricians, it can be done in a very professional manner.
If you are only concerned in making the home insurance compliant for immediate safety the Canadian Electrical Code has approved methods for adapting existing knob & tube wiring to GFCI protected circuits. Before deciding on this route you should consult with your insurance company to find out if the will accept this method
Knob & Tube Wiring Dangers
Because It is around 70 – 110 years old, sometimes the wiring is worn out. The porcelain knobs and tubes crack or break, aged wires sag and fray, and the sheathing turns brittle and falls off, exposing the live wires.
Frequently homes that were originally knob and tube wired now have a hazardous combination of knob and tube and modern wiring due to improper modifications.
K & T wiring is an UNGROUNDED system which is not up to today’s standards.
Knob and tube wiring is intended to be strung through open air so the heat can disperse well. Improved insulation techniques create hazards as loose-fill insulation blown into the attics and walls of older homes will come into contact with the wires creating a serious fire risk.
Contemporary appliance plugs are modified in order to make them compatible with the old and obsolete 2 prong receptacles
Greatly higher electrical demand causes overuse of extension cords and power bars.
Replacement of blown fuses with fuses rated for higher current. This over fusing of the circuits expose wiring to higher levels of current and risks heat damage or fire.
K & T wiring might also be damaged by unlicensed renovation work or even by rodents.
Knob & Tube Wiring Best Solutions
Removing the old K & T wiring and replacing the whole system with new copper wiring to meet today’s Canadian Electrical Safety Code standards.
Upgrading to no less than a 100 amp service (required by most insurance companies)
Appropriate grounding and bonding (essential)
Replacing all ungrounded switches and receptacles with CSA approved devices.
Install interconnected Smoke and CO detectors
Getting Insurance On Knob and Tube Wiring
Most insurance brokers view this wiring method as a severe safety hazard and all require an electrical inspection done by a certified electrical contractor before a policy is issued or renewed. Most insurance companies in Vancouver required a minimum of Medium Risk report.
The Vancouver electricians at WireChief Electric are specialists in knob and tube wiring; caring for these elegant and splendid homes with experience, patience and expertise. When WireChief Electric complete a knob and tube rewiring, the home has all the character of its era, and all the convenience and safety of a new house.
The job is performed with a minimum of household disruption, and most significantly, avoiding any unneeded damage to the home’s walls, ceilings, floors and baseboards.
Because mostly older houses have a combination of knob and tube and newer wiring, it is essential to have a professional electrical inspection and assessment so you know all your options available before you proceed.
A consultation visit by one of our experienced electricians will provide you with all the options available to make your house safer.
With care and expertise, a beautiful old house CAN be rewired without demolition and any significant damage. The splendour and charm of a heritage home can remain intact while having the safety features and improved appraisal value of contemporary wiring.
Client Case Portfolio: Vancouver Heritage House Knob & Tube Rewiring