Cloth covered electric cable

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Old 03-04-19, 11:31 AM
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Cloth covered electric cable

Was watching one of those so called home remodel shows this weekend, not sure of the location, but they located what they termed cloth covered electric lines. Said they would need to be removed before continuing. Where I am, the last two houses I purchased have the same lines. What is the opinion of the board.
 
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Old 03-04-19, 11:43 AM
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They are very old, well beyond expected service life, and should be replaced during any sort of remodel. If they are truly cloth covered, then the wire insulation is also natural rubber which will be significantly deteriorated.

If they are tar-impregnated silvery colored cables, these are somewhat newer and can remain in use because the wire insulation inside is TPE plastic. The major downside with this type of cable is that it has a lower temperature rating than modern cable so you cannot use most modern light fixtures in boxes that have these old cables. You also need to be careful because these cables usually have a small 18ga or 16ga ground wire that can easily break off when you're messing around in the box.
 
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Old 03-04-19, 12:01 PM
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We may have the second type but would it only require replacement in a remodel or is this something that we should consider. The present house was built in 1957. Also want to consider selling in the future although that is not in the immediate future.
 
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Old 03-04-19, 01:41 PM
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Left undisturbed..... the wiring is ok. When disturbed it will usually crumble.
I have come across it in customers homes in ceiling light fixtures and it can be in bad shape if incandescent bulbs are used in the old style glass shade fixtures.

I have a limited amount in my house built in 1959. It's ok. I'm not in any hurry to replace it.
I've added new circuits around it.
 
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Old 03-04-19, 02:39 PM
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Thank you for the information.
 
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Old 03-05-19, 05:24 AM
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The first type of cloth wiring would be roughly from the 40s and earlier.

From 1957 I think you're OK to leave the existing wiring as-is, however when you do remodeling that allows access to the wiring I would replace it at that time. If your existing wiring is ungrounded, code allows you to leave it as-is, but you cannot make any new additions or alternations to the circuits unless replaced with modern grounded cabling.
 
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