Knob & Tube Wiring


Old 09-11-05, 02:46 PM
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Knob & Tube Wiring

I have just purchased a house built in 1930 and have old knob & tube wiring running rampant in the attic. I am planning on insulating the attic but I know that I have to do something with the old wiring first. The electrical system was actually updated to 110 amp service in 1995. Question 1 is: What are the odds that the old wiring still services any part of the house? Question 2 is: How do I find out without killing myself?

Any help and/or advice would be greatly appreciated!!
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Old 09-11-05, 03:42 PM
Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: USA
Posts: 995
A very handy tool for anyone that contemplates doing even minor electrical work or inspections or working anywhere near or with electricity (there, there should leave no one out...) is what's commonly called a tick tracer, or a non-contact voltage tester.

Cheap ones can be found for about $10, with the high-quality Flukes and Greenlees going for about $20.

Just setting the tip of the tool on top of the insulation (or bare) of a conductor will cause a light and/or beeping to let you know there is voltage present in the wire. The tip also fits into a receptacle, where (on a standard 120V) you should get nothing on the grounds and neutrals, but a signal on the smaller hot slot.

This will tell you instantly if the old wire is still connected to the electrical system. ALWAYS test the tool before and after using it on the conductor in question with a known, live outlet before trusting your life to it.

Other than that, I'm a modern industrial electrician; can't help you decide what to DO with knob-and-tube...

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