Knob and Tube and a new panel?

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  #1  
Old 01-19-06, 01:06 AM
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Knob and Tube and a new panel?

I realize that ultimately the local authority will have the final answer to this question and I have a call into the local inspectors about it but I figured I would ask those knowledgeable here as well.

I am looking into buying a home that has many many thing that need updating. One being the 60A service that is all knob and tube. What I would like to do first is have an EC come in and install a new 200A panel and have new service run. But I would like to have the knobe and tube remain, for now.

am going to be going room by room and redoing them over the course of the next year. (there aer 12 rooms so, 1 a month ) and as I get to each room, I would replace the old wiring with new wiring going back to the panel.

The reason I would like to have the panel put in right away before replacing the old wiring is because the first thing I would like to do is hire someone to replace the furnace and also add central air and the current feed to the house will not handle it.

I was thinking that if I GFCI or AFCI the circuits that I should be ok and also depending on the size fuse they currently on I would use a moer appropriate size breaker ( 14ga was allowed to be on a 30A breaker back then )

Does this sound reasonable at all?
 
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  #2  
Old 01-19-06, 06:10 AM
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14 gage wire was NOT allowed to be on a 30 amp fuse. What you probably have is a common situation where someone used a 30 amp fuse as a replacement because they kept blowing the correct size, 15 amp. This is extremely unsafe, and was done because people are ignorant, stupid, or both.

You are going to run into difficulty going one room at a time on your work. As you know by now, you will be significantly increasing the number of circuits in the house. Today's requirements call for dedicated circuits for the laundry, bathroom(s), and kitchen. On top of that, you will want dedicated circuits for some other places, such as perhaps computer/office area and home theater area. Finally, you will want (and need) many more receptacles than they originally had per room.

What you may end up doing is making temporary patches in the attic or basement as you do each room so that you can completely do the room, but also leave the balance of the K&T circuit intact.
 
  #3  
Old 01-19-06, 08:16 AM
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Dim Bulb, This house sounds like mine. built in late 1800. I have been remodeling it for four years same way (room at a time or parts of room over room). I agree with racraft, in the electrical world do everything at one time, but in the real world money has a lot to do with what one does. I do have a few junction boxes down in the basement.The knob and tube, not safe, but sure was simple. Good luck!!!!!
 
  #4  
Old 01-19-06, 10:19 PM
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I do not doubt racraft, but like was said, there is a money issue and although the electrical system is an important one, it is not the only thing that will need immediate attention, I have a few things that are on the "things that must be done list" and swapping out the panel and putting in a larger service si one of them. This way as I do add circuits, I have the room.

But can the existing k&t get landed on the new panel until a time in the near future

George, yes the house I am looking at was built in 1905 and it seems many things are still original.
 
  #5  
Old 01-20-06, 08:43 AM
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Originally Posted by Dim Bulb
But can the existing k&t get landed on the new panel until a time in the near future
Maybe, the inspector may want you to terminate the k&t in junction boxes near the main panel and run a short piece of romex from the main panel to the k&t junction box. GFCI is a good idea on the existing k&t circuits.
 
  #6  
Old 01-20-06, 08:47 PM
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Around these parts, if space allows, the existing fuse box is gutted and turned into a junction box. If that's too hard the box will be removed and replaced with a similarly-sized junction box. Suitably-sized conduit will be put in between the new loadcenter and that junction box, and jumpers will be run from the loadcenter breakers and wirenutted in the junction box to the K&T.

Your proposition is sound but you can plan on having extension cords or "romex cords" around for a while since you'll inevitably have to tear some wiring out in one room before the next room is ready.

Also, as I always recommend, consider switching your service drops (including phone & CATV) from overhead to underground if your budget and conditions permit. It's nice not to have to steer the ladder around that stuff, since you'll probably be painting outside soon, too!
 
  #7  
Old 01-20-06, 08:58 PM
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Dim Bulb,

You may find that many of us have been in a similar situation as you. My first house was a K&T built in 1912, located in Farmington, MI. I replaced all of my K&T too, however I did it by floor. I too replaced the service panel first, then did the individual circuits.

Replace your wiring logically rather than ramdomly as you do a room. Start out by mapping out your existing wiring by pulling fuses and seeing what has electricity & what does not. Remember much of it is all interconnected and there may not seem to be any logic on what is connected with eachother. When you cut one wire, it might stop power to an area you never expected.

In my case I found I could disconnect the entire 2nd floor (only 2 fuses)without effecting any other part of the house. As such I did the entire 2nd floor at one time. I found a clean drop from the attic to the basement and ran new romex. Then worked from the attic down to those rooms. I also did this before pumping loose fill insulation in the attic.

Then a little while later I ran new cable for the main floor, going up from the basement. The most difficult areas were the overhead lights on the main floor. You cannot get to those without ripping up walls or ceilings. I ended up keeping the old K&T from the switch to the light in those cases. Jsut be consistent on your white & black supply connections. All of those I kept on the same new circuit, it meant extra junction boxes in the basement, but boxes really are cheap in the overall cost.

If you are already doing all of this work, you might as well run RG6 for TV cable, & CAT 5 for telephone. However you cnnot co-mingle those with the electircal.

FYI, Two new houses later, I still miss that old house, it had character. However do not miss that old damp basement.

Good luck
 
  #8  
Old 01-20-06, 09:01 PM
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update

I spoke to the inspector and he said that I could install the panel and I would have to replace all exposed k&t that is in the attic and basement. Since the attic partially finished, I only have to worry about the basement. He said it was fine to have th k&t that is going up into the spaces to be ran into a box and then run the romex from the panel to the box also.

So everything is all good??

WRONG!!!

Although it would be up to code and inspected, my insurance company (state farm) will not give me homeowners insurance if there is any active k&t in the house. The wires can be there, but they can not be live at all. I got mad cause initially they said it would not be a problem and long as I got a certificate of inspection from the ec and everythign was good. Then my agent called back and said that they "may" give me homeowners cause that is was their manual dictated. But as it turns out, "MAY" never actually happens, ever. They said there is a state insurance plan that I could get in the meantime that would allow me to get a motgage, but would not give me liability coverage.
 
  #9  
Old 01-20-06, 09:11 PM
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Dim Bulb,

Maybe I did it wrong, but I never informed by insurance company. I figured that since I pulled a permit & got it inspected (thus following code) I did not have to worry about them. I did mine in 1993, I guess things have changed in 13 years. My city inspector was happy I was replacing since hardly any of the houses in that historic section of the city had done so.

FYI, the city inspector helped me a lot when I had questions and gave suggestions to make the job easier. I did all of the work myself, except had an electrician do the service panel change-out.

My suggestion, get another insurance company.
 
  #10  
Old 01-21-06, 12:34 AM
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I am looking to get a different insurance company first thing Monday actually.

When I called they asked me a bunch of questions, I knew honesty would get me in trouble. It will only be this way for a short period of time. I have no claims with them and my family has multiple policie and some are over 20 years old with the same agent locally here. And not of us have had any claims in many many years. I just dont get him. But I am pissed. I am thinking of chanig over my entire policy for everythign I have to another company and I am going shopping on Monday
 
  #11  
Old 01-21-06, 06:38 AM
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Some insurance companies will also not issue policies when fuse panels are in place. Or they may require that the fuse panels be replaced with six months or something similar.
 
  #12  
Old 01-21-06, 08:47 AM
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I agree with racraft. A few years ago I changed out/upgraded the service in my seasonal camp from 60 amp fuses to 100A breakers. I mentioned this to my insurance company along with some other improvements I thought might save some $$ on my premium.

Once the agent established the panel had already been changed out she informed me that if she had known before the work was done the company would have dropped me like a hot rock. I observed out loud that there must be thousands of the old 60 amp fuse services and she agreed, but said as the company finds them they drop the coverage. I asked if that even applied if the owner offered to change out the panel within, say, 30 days. She said yes.

Interesting. I occasionally hear an electrician say they like fuses better than breakers.

Good thing I called after the work was done.

 
  #13  
Old 01-21-06, 09:29 AM
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K+t

The bad thing about K+T is that they sould splice anywhere. If you leave any of it in the walls or the fininshed attic, you dont know where it was spliced or where it goes. If you are going to do it, the do all of it. It is safer and better to do it all at once.
 
  #14  
Old 01-23-06, 10:26 AM
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I am familiar with Farmington MI. I am not too far away from there My house is a 1910 house and I have been upgrading my electric for awhile too. I run into alot of situations that are not as easy to get done as one would hope. Trip a circuit and it runs almost half the house etc. so I have been doing it slowly. Some places are virtually impossible to change out without demo and finding a completely new route forcing the abandonment of old some knob and tube all together. Most of my wire has been in good shape though. Just wanted to upgrade it and add ground or relieve the stress of some circuits.
 
  #15  
Old 01-23-06, 09:55 PM
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and another update.

I went back into the house with a flashlight and found that although there is K&T in the house, it is inactive and not connected to the panel. I was happy with this.

Then my insurance agent, who thinks I have K&T calls and said he did a drive around the house and had this huge list of crap that was wrong and most of it had to do with things needing painting!! I about jumped through the phone to kill him! paint??? then I told him the house wiring has been upgraded and he just continued with his list. When he was done I told him he really needs to rethink his career choice cause he sucks cause there were things insurance companies should pay more attention to (like a retaining wall that is obviously in need of resupport) that he has not mentioned.

He quoted me at 1100 a year for insurance policy and I told him to go screw himself and we will not be doing business for long. He told me that no one will insure this house and I should not bother looking. I told him that he should want me to shop around cause he really dont want me coming to his office to sign the papers for insurance on this house. I was sooo pissed with him. He even had the balls to begin questioning how I was planning on rehabing the house and how I was to obtain financing for it. I told him it was none of his FN business and the house is quite livable the way it is but not the way I want it

So tomarrow I begin shopping for insurance from a company other than State Farm
 
  #16  
Old 01-24-06, 12:09 PM
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aye! you should see my home insurance here in detroit! That would be a good deal.
 
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