Knob and Tube?

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  #1  
Old 04-28-07, 08:08 AM
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Knob and Tube?

I'm getting my house insulated this summer. As I understand it, you can't insulate over knob and tube. I don't have many outlets and switches on exterior walls, so I figured I'd pull the cover plates off and look at the wiring.

I don't have any visible knob and tube in my basement or my crawl space. I know the house had it at one point because there are old knobs and tubes in the basement that have been abandoned.

The picture you see if from one of the additions. As best I can tell the addition was put on in the 40's or 50's. I don't know if that is prime knob and tube era or not.

Anyway, I'm not sure of what I've found. Hopefully one of these pictures will help you tell me.

http://i153.photobucket.com/albums/s233/chandltp/WiringClose.jpg
http://i153.photobucket.com/albums/s233/chandltp/WiringClose2.jpg

http://i153.photobucket.com/albums/s233/chandltp/Switch1.jpg
http://i153.photobucket.com/albums/s233/chandltp/Switch2.jpg
http://i153.photobucket.com/albums/s233/chandltp/Switch3.jpg

http://i153.photobucket.com/albums/s233/chandltp/SwitchSide.jpg

Also, is there a better way to determine the presence of knob and tube for insulation than what I'm doing?
 
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  #2  
Old 04-28-07, 09:10 AM
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I cannot tell from the pics if this is knob and tube or cloth romex.

cloth was the common wiring method during your addition.

alot of old rewires just replaced the k and t in visible places.

you need to open the switch and light boxes. If it is cloth romex both wires from the same cable will enter in one hole. If it is knob and tube each wire will enter the box seperatly, usually with a cloth insulator, instead of being in the same cable.
 
  #3  
Old 04-28-07, 09:11 AM
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Cool knob and tube

0000001, 00000010, buckle my shoe 00000100, 00001000 shut the door! Am I right? I have that old knob and tube also. I got an estimate for a 100 amp breaker box for $800. I want to get rid of that knob and tube, I figured I would start with the box, but that sounds high to me. I can only imagine what they want to rewire...
 
  #4  
Old 04-28-07, 09:29 AM
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"0000001, 00000010, buckle my shoe 00000100, 00001000 shut the door! Am I right? "

nope you are not right.... 01, 10, 11, 100 etc
 
  #5  
Old 04-28-07, 09:35 AM
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011 is 3. 100 is 4.

I'll post some more pictures of some fixtures.
 
  #6  
Old 04-28-07, 09:47 AM
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Turn off the power, then try to pull the device out a bit so we can see how the wires enter the box.
 
  #7  
Old 04-28-07, 10:03 AM
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Here are more pictures.

The more I examine this the more I believe that it is probably not knob and tube in this addition. However, I am slowly working on re-wiring the house to upgrade all the wiring anyway.

I have many other spaces to look at though, so this probably won't be my last post on the topic unless I see familiar romex everywhere.

This is the light fixture in the addition. Yes, I know I need to get a box in there. The whole house is a mess with wiring, but looked really good on the surface when we bought it.

Edited to add: It goes into some other cloth-type sheathing before it enters the ceiling.

http://i153.photobucket.com/albums/s233/chandltp/FixtureInAddition.jpg
http://i153.photobucket.com/albums/s233/chandltp/FixtureInAddition2.jpg
http://i153.photobucket.com/albums/s233/chandltp/FixtureInAddition3.jpg

Here are some samples of the old knobs I had:

http://i153.photobucket.com/albums/s233/chandltp/KnobWire2.jpg
http://i153.photobucket.com/albums/s233/chandltp/KnobWire3.jpg

Here's a few samples of the many types of wiring I have found in the house:

http://i153.photobucket.com/albums/s233/chandltp/WireVariaty.jpg

This one goes into the addition directly. This is what is present in the crawl space from what I have seen.
http://i153.photobucket.com/albums/s233/chandltp/AdditionWiringSample.jpg

Here another example of the bad wiring that is hiding in my house:
http://i153.photobucket.com/albums/s233/chandltp/AdditionBadWiring.jpg
 
  #8  
Old 04-28-07, 10:21 AM
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JWhite: I'll get your pictures, I just want to find out what other pictures I might need.
 
  #9  
Old 04-28-07, 10:24 AM
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The ceiling fixture looks to be knob and tube.

The last pic, probably in the basement is knob and tube.

As I said before, it was once common to do a partial house re-wire and only update the wiring where exposed or a hazzard.

Yours needs much more investigation and work.

I suggest putting off the insulation contractor till you get this resolved. If you do not, you will be fixing the insulation when the electrician opens up walls to fix the wiring.
 
  #10  
Old 04-28-07, 10:43 AM
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The last picture is on an interior wall, so I'm not concerned about that since I won't be insulating the interior walls. I'm pretty sure I know where that wiring goes.

I'm confused about the ceiling fixture being knob and tube. I didn't think knob and tube had any kind of sheathing encasing the 2 wires. I know the picture isn't great, but the "fuzzy" next to the ceiling appears to be a cloth sheathing of some sort.

I can certainly open up the wall where this is to get to the wiring and replace it. The plaster isn't in great condition anyway. I would definitely prefer not to, but it's probably the right decision.

Yes, I'm well aware that my house a partial rewire job. I'm trying to determine how partial and what needs my immediate attention.
 
  #11  
Old 04-28-07, 10:49 AM
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Since I am not at your house, I am just telling you from experience in different houses.


The ceiling light apears to have no box. typical of k and t wiring. It could be cloth romex. the only way to know will be to cut a hole the size of a ceiling box and look.

Let me make this clear. since we on this forum cannot see or visit your house all the information we give is a best guess.

It is up to you to determine if this advice fits your situation.
 
  #12  
Old 04-28-07, 11:00 AM
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Yea, cutting the hole for the box sounds like the best start. I don't want to start that project today as I'm sure it will turn into a much bigger project.

Does it make sense to just replace the wiring in the wall since I should probably eventually do it anyway?

Assuming none of it is K&T, do I still potentially have a safety issue if I cover it with insulation?

You are correct that there is no box. I'm finding that most of my house is that way. The more I look at my house the more work needs to be done.

Yes, I'm perfectly clear that you are giving me general advice and it does not take the place of a licensed electrician should I find that it is necessary.
 
  #13  
Old 04-28-07, 11:08 AM
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If none if the wiring is K and T then I would say no the the hazzard of insulation.

However that was still 75 deg C wire. If above a light fixture, you will find the insulation to be brittle, and often fall apart just by moving the wires.

I reccomend that eventually you have all 90 deg C rated wire throughout the hose. (today's romex)

Till then I would not loose sleep over the difference. From what I have seen, if you do not move the wires, in the lights, you will have no problems.
 
  #14  
Old 04-28-07, 11:08 AM
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Any suggestion on the best tool to use to cut the hold in the plaster?
 
  #15  
Old 04-28-07, 11:46 AM
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Thank you all for your advice.

After further consideration, I think the best solution is going to be to re-wire that addition before I get it insulated.

I'm going to tear out that wall and the ceiling so I can re-center the light easily and put in a box. I'll also be able to run new wiring to the exterior light and put a box in for that as well (that was one of those switches).

It will also help some of the ugliness that is the plaster in that room.
 
  #16  
Old 04-28-07, 11:50 AM
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I hope we helped, and If you have any more questions please post a new thread here. We will do the best we can.
 
  #17  
Old 05-01-07, 11:15 AM
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Use a circulat saw to cut lath and plaster, not a reciprocating saw. Maybe a rotary cutter will work.
 
  #18  
Old 05-01-07, 11:49 AM
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Dremel or Rotozip with a carbide blade for box cutouts.
 
  #19  
Old 05-03-07, 04:40 AM
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Thanks for the suggestions on how to cut the plaster. Looks like an excuse to replace my rotozip

Yea, I knew a recriprocating saw would grab the lathe and start shaking it and crack all the adjacent placter.
 
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