Soldered connections in old house


Old 05-24-15, 05:05 PM
Thread Starter
Join Date: Oct 2013
Posts: 592
Soldered connections in old house

Old house question.... should soldered and taped wire connections in an old home be changed even if there are no problems on the circuit?
Sponsored Links
Old 05-24-15, 05:09 PM
Temporarily Suspended
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: NY
Posts: 10,986
Are we talking about aluminum wiring? What do you call old? I've seen people call a house built in the 70s, old. In NY, that's not an old house. We could use some more info.
Old 05-24-15, 05:18 PM
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Wet side of Washington state.
Posts: 18,407
Likes Received: 2
Soldered and taped splices would denote knob and tube wiring. As long as the insulation is not crumbling I see no immediate need to replace it. Some insurance companies will refuse to write coverage on a house that has knob and tube wiring.

Current philosophy prohibits burying knob and tube in insulation but my parents house had knob and tube AND had the attic and walls insulated in the early 1950s. They never had a bit of trouble from the knob and tube.

Where trouble DOES occur is when some dimwit (like my daddy) replaces the 15 ampere fuses with 30 ampere fuses.

Pulpo, have you ever tried to solder aluminum wires?
Old 05-24-15, 05:24 PM
PJmax's Avatar
Group Moderator
Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: Northern NJ - USA
Posts: 50,593
Likes Received: 108
That's a good question. I'm working in a house right now that was wired in BX. All the connections are soldered and taped. The connections are good and the tape job is good but once you disturb the connection the problems start. Usually, due to the age, the insulation starts crumbling at the joint. Especially in ceiling boxes where the heat from the fixture has baked the wiring.

They also made very short wiring splices so by the time you get the joint apart there is next to nothing left.

This job is an upgrade and replacing all the wiring was not in the budget so some will be staying. I would have liked to replace it all although I didn't find any problems.

This house has no K&T in it.
Old 05-24-15, 05:24 PM
Thread Starter
Join Date: Oct 2013
Posts: 592
Its mid 50 copper wiring... not knob and tube nor aluminum wiring.

Im talking about the joints in general... Not looking to rewire the house!! lol.

Kind of like you open a box to change a switch and see a soldered and taped connection tucked in the back of the box... do you open it or just leave sleeping dogs alone?
Old 05-24-15, 05:55 PM
pcboss's Avatar
Forum Topic Moderator
Join Date: Jul 2002
Location: Maryland
Posts: 14,800
Likes Received: 3
As long as the insulation is in good condition, I leave the splices alone.
Old 05-24-15, 08:35 PM
PJmax's Avatar
Group Moderator
Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: Northern NJ - USA
Posts: 50,593
Likes Received: 108
I fully agree with the boss's reply.
Old 05-24-15, 08:42 PM
Justin Smith's Avatar
Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: Cressona, Pa, USA
Posts: 2,546
I've seen soldered and taped splices in houses as new as the early 1970s. It is in my opinion, the best connection method. As long as you're not having any issues and the insulation is good you shouldn't need to touch it.
Old 05-25-15, 04:33 AM
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: USA
Posts: 3,408
Likes Received: 4
A properly made soldered connection also has mechanical strength such as twisting so it does not rely on just the solder to hold it together. Then it will never come apart or lose conductivity unless it got overheated and all the solder melted and dripped away.

Soldered connections would not indicate aluminum wiring because aluminum cannot be soldered using conventional electronic solder. Plumbing solder and fluxes/pastes must never be used on wiring as it could lead to corrosion that can eat through the wire and detract from conductivity.

While soldered knob and tube wiring does not develop loose connections (unless oveheated), there is no assurance other than by inspection that the K&T wiring was indeed soldered. Just twisting wires together is (nowadays) insufficient for ground wires let alone current carrying conductors. Another problem with K&T is slackness leading to drooping together with deteriorated insulation resulting in short circuits inside the wall or ceiling.

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off

Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Display Modes