In older homes it is common to encounter knob and tube wiring in walls, ceilings, and floors. If you are remodeling or repairing your home and are going to tie into your existing electrical system you must first be sure that your existing system is capable to handle the load. If you have a knob and tube electrical system it is not advised to re-use the knob and tube wires nor is it advised to tie into the existing system. Knob and tube wiring system was the first ‘in-wall’ electrical system and worked great until people started putting insulation in walls and ceilings. Knob and tube wiring systems typically are not grounded correctly, and when they are grounded it is usually improperly tied to the water pipes which could potentially give the homes running water an electrical charge. Imagine going to wash your hands and ZAP! This is why we are trying to eliminate knob and tube wiring where ever possible.
Don’t forget to turn off the power to the wires you will be working on, and check that there is no current running through them after the juice has been cut by using a power tester. The proper approach is to trace the individual wires back to their nearest glass or porcelain insulator, and cut them there. Tape off the end of the bare wire with vinyl electrical tape, and wrap the whole insulator with tape to ensure safety.
Another acceptable way to terminate the wires is in an accessible service box in the wall (wires should always be capped and taped in the service box). I have had people tell me that there are still laws on the code books that say it is legal to connect or terminate knob and tube wires inside of a wall cavity without an accessible box. I like to remind those people that knob and tube was not intended to be used in walls with fiberglass insulation. After the wire is safely terminated, you can run a new ‘home run’ to the panel with 12-2 romex wire. If you are dealing with an out dated electrical panel you may want to consider up grading your service panel or running a sub panel. If you have a modern panel with a relatively large main breaker but are out of space, than a sub panel may be a good solution. If you do not have a good general understanding of electricity you are advised to CONSULT A LICENSED ELECTRICIAN.
Paul D. Hughes wrote this article, and [http://www.homeownerqna.com] first posted this article! Check the blogsite at [http://www.homeownerqna.com] regularly for new articles relating to all fields of construction and home owner maintenance! Have a question? ASK US! Answering your questions is what makes us happy:) so please feel free to ask. Don’t forget to follow us on twitter @HomeOwner_QnA. Are you in need of a Quality Contractor or Home Inspector in the Northern California area, please call Paul @ (707)732-6255 to set up an appt. (CCL#818124 class B – NACHI-11060602)