Knob and Tube and BX

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  #1  
Old 06-20-07, 05:38 AM
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Knob and Tube and BX

I am in the process of buying my first house. It is roughly a 100year old cape cod style 2 story house. All of the outlets are 2 prong. When we did the home inspection we tested the outlets and the downstairs outlets had a good ground when using the tester light, the upstairs had a weak ground, the light was really dim.

Most of the house is wired with knob and tube and BX style wiring. The sellers are having an electrician bring it up to code by, replacing the fuse box, installing a 100amp breaker, replacing the service lines, installing GFCI's in the kitchen and 2nd floor bathroom.

I want to replace the knob and tube with new wiring but we were quoted 4k to have it done, so I am planning on running the wire for the electrician and having him come in and do the final connections.

I have a full basement and attic but the walls are plaster lathe.

I think it would be fine to leave the knob and tube for small things like lamps and stuff and just install a new outlet or two in each room.

Does this sound like a good idea?
 
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  #2  
Old 06-20-07, 05:46 AM
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Adding new receptacles where you need them makes sense, but only to a point.

If all the existing wiring is on good shape and you only need new receptacles for items like a computer system or a home entertainment center then adding them is fine.

However, if the wiring is in questionable shape or you will be adding many new receptacles in each room, you would be better off to abandon what is there and add everything new.

$4,000 is not a bad price for completely rewiring a house.
 
  #3  
Old 06-20-07, 06:47 AM
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Would it be wise for me to run the wires through the walls and then get the electrician to make the final connections?
 
  #4  
Old 06-20-07, 07:17 AM
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Do not do anything until you find an electrician. Not all electricians will work with you by allowing you to do some of the work. Find an electrician first, and ask him or her what you can do.
 
  #5  
Old 06-20-07, 09:40 AM
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We get a lot of questions about K&T wiring, but two back-to-back from a buyer and seller on the same day makes me wonder if you're buying this guy's house:
http://forum.doityourself.com/showthread.php?t=309698

Does the $4k include the 100A service? If so, I think that's a very fair price. I would recommend against running wires without consulting your electrician. He will have to approve any work that you do, because if you screw up it's his license on the line.

> I think it would be fine to leave the knob and tube for small things like
> lamps and stuff and just install a new outlet or two in each room.

This is commonly done, especially if your ceilings have ornate plaster work which would be damaged by replacing the K&T. The downside with leaving K&T in place, is that you cannot insulate over it. So if you plan on upgrading insulation, the K&T needs to be replaced in those walls/ceilings.

It's often a very good idea to abandon the K&T and replace with modern wiring in the kitchen and bathrooms.
 
  #6  
Old 06-20-07, 06:21 PM
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lol I dont think I'm buying that house.

The sellers are having their electrician bring it up to code, its costing them 1750. That includes the 100amp service, GFI's in the bathroom/kitchen, smoke alarms, and removal of all accessable knob and tube wiring.

Once we close on the house and get moved in I will take a better look at the wiring in place and talk with an electrician to see how much it will be to wire in a few outlets into the bedrooms and see if he will allow me to run the wire for him.

Thanks for the help guys. We are closing next friday, my first home at the age of 21
 
  #7  
Old 06-20-07, 07:35 PM
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You said you didn't think you are buying that house, but then you mentiuoed closing? Did I miss somehthing?
 
  #8  
Old 06-20-07, 09:17 PM
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burkej62, yeah, you missed the first paragraph of ibpooks response.

87vert, it's probably too late but I think that you should have negotiated the electrical upgrade to a minimum of 150 (better 200) ampere service, even if you would have had to pay the increase over the cost of the 100 ampere service. 100 ampere service is the absolute bare minimum you want in a home today.
 
  #9  
Old 06-21-07, 06:09 AM
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I was talking to ibpooks, he said someone earlier posted about selling a house with knob and tube, I said I dont think I was buying his house lol

I would have liked to go with 200 amp but it was the sellers decision because they are paying the electrician.
 
  #10  
Old 06-21-07, 01:17 PM
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It's a little late now but might it have been possible for you to waive the upgrade on the condition that you bring it up to code within x days ... and accept a closing credit of $1750 instead?

We did this when we found out a bedroom didn't have heat. I think it's to both parties advantage to swap cash in lieu of work, when the price can be determined in advance to everyone's satisfaction.

That said, I remember after closing there are a million things you need to buy and it's tough enough to manage the cash flow, without mandated improvements, when you have to get that downpayment on the table.
 
  #11  
Old 06-21-07, 06:56 PM
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Their electrician started today. He's doing pretty good work. I am going to get a quote from him on how much to finish the rest of the house.

The upstairs seems pretty easy. The wiring is run outside of the walls in the C channel stuff along the baseboard. So I should only have to drop one wire down for the first outlet and run it along the baseboard the same way?

Should I just go with 12/2 instead of the 14/2? I priced it out and the 12 was only a bit more but would 12 be overkill? I have 2 bedrooms upstairs. The main device in the master bedroom is only going to be a small tv but the other room is going to be an office with a couple computers, large laser printer and a tv, maybe a mini fridge
 
  #12  
Old 06-21-07, 08:05 PM
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Use 12 AWG and 20A breakers anywhere permitted.

You'll get different opinions and it seems like the opposing views are ...
14 is: Good enough, cheaper, fits in boxes better, permitted by code.

12 is: Better, more expensive, harder to fit in boxes. Generally the minimum required for commercial work.

In my case doing everything in 12 AWG meant buying only one size of wire for the whole house. An electrician will stock a few colors in both 12 & 14. They will use it up quickly regardless. On the other hand, if you're buying it for DIY you want maximum flexibility to use what you need now with a minimum of half-empty spools left over. You'll have some of the right size for your next project, as long as it's not a range or water heater.

For your IT room, consider a separate circuit for the electronics. This would be a good spot for 12/3 with a 2-pole AFCI.
 
  #13  
Old 06-22-07, 12:49 PM
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>>For your IT room, consider a separate circuit for the electronics. This would be a good spot for 12/3 with a 2-pole AFCI.


What is the difference between the 12/3 vs the 12/2, I know the 12/3 has an extra wire but what does it do?
 
  #14  
Old 06-22-07, 01:32 PM
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12-3 would be used for a multi-wire circuit.

Before running a multi-wire circuit to a room that requires AFCI protection, make sure that a 240 volt AFCI circuit breaker is available for the particular circuit breaker panel in use, and make sure that you are willing to pay the price they want for such a breaker.
 
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