Need to test Knob and Tube


Old 12-02-07, 08:00 PM
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Need to test Knob and Tube

I am in the final processes of buying a house and I noticed there is knob and tube running along the attic tounge and groove floor. The inspector doesn't know for sure if it is active or not b/c he couldn't fit his stomach through the tiny hole to get up there. Me on the other hand are a little slimmer and could fit up there no problem. So my question is can i take a volt meter and touch the knob and tube wire to see if it is active or will i get zapped? It is the only k&T in the house that I have seen and the house has been rewired in every other room with a 100 amp fuses. But the attic is bugging me and I have to know if it is controlling the 2nd floor lights or if it was just left there thinking no one would go in the attic. Any help is greatly appreciated. thanks
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Old 12-02-07, 08:13 PM
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The easiest way to test it would be with a non contact type tester or open up the light fixtures and see what you have.
Old 12-02-07, 08:17 PM
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You could use a tester like this:

or this:

to see if either wire is hot. No contact needed. Just turn on the tester, check on a known hot outlet or wire to make sure if it works then go check your K & T. To use a regular tester you would have to stab the probe through the insulation and you could get zapped.
Old 12-02-07, 08:19 PM
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The problem with whatever method you use is: Just because the wires are not live right when you test them doesn't mean they cannot be with switches in different positions. Even with all lights visibly on you cannot be 100% sure, if some "clever" 3-way wiring was done.

Is it impossible to see where those wires lead?

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