Attic loose fill insulation and knob & tube wiring

Reply

  #1  
Old 11-15-05, 09:50 AM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: ohio
Posts: 195
Attic loose fill insulation and knob & tube wiring

Im trying to increase my R9 fiberglass batt insulation in the unfinished attic to R50 with cellulose loose fill. I found that my attic has this knob and tube wiring in it and the batts lie underneath them. Is it ok to put in losse fill over all of this or am i stuck having to re wire the whole house. My house was built in 1954 and i thought it was more modern than this at least electrically. I found most sites dont even talk about this issue even on the manufactures websites. The few ive found that mention is say no.
 
Sponsored Links
  #2  
Old 11-15-05, 12:22 PM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: ohio
Posts: 195
Just a little follow on: So far ive had 2 different contractors come and give me estimates on blowing in attic insulation. One was orkin and the other a highly recommented local contractor. Neither of them ever mentioned the wiring as a potential problem. Both asked around $1100 for my 680 sq ft of attic space. Since materials would cost me only around 300 to add and get R50 i thought id do it myself.
 
  #3  
Old 11-16-05, 07:28 AM
drm901
Visiting Guest
Posts: n/a
I wouldn't do it.

the knob and tube wiring is fine - as long as you have enough circuits so you aren't overloading them. If you are overloading them, they get hot. not an issue if the heat can dissipate.

I personally wouldn't do it - and I own an old house that is facing the same issue.
 
  #4  
Old 11-16-05, 08:08 AM
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: USA
Posts: 6,126
Attic loose fill insulation and knob & tube wiring

One thing to consider about knob and tube -

If you go to sell the house (every house is eventually sold) and the buyers have it inspected, a home inspector could spot the knob and tube. He would note it that it exists and that it should be looked at by an electrician to determine if it poses a safety problem.

It may have been legal in 1954 (I can't imagine how) and it would not have to be removed now if it was legal now. The big thing is that a sale could easily fall through or the price reduced according to a contractors estimate at a bad time. Knob and tube is not really bad, but it sure scares a home purchaser and he may then question the real age of the house just as you do.

I would not just cover it up. If you can easily replace that portion you are going to insulate, I would do it now. Just a portion, and not even all the way back to the feed. It will makes things much easier and cheaper in the future. You will have the attic "things" taken care of for a long time.

Dick
 
  #5  
Old 11-16-05, 11:24 AM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: ohio
Posts: 195
I dont even know if the wires are still hot. I guess i could use a voltmeter to see if current is still in them? Im pretty darn sure about the age of the home- the area im in is sort of a historical preservation thing and ive got the original blueprints. To top it off there was only one previous owner. Ive never had any probs with the electric in this house and noticed the box was updated even. Also i called my local bulding dept to check and see what they say. Said that lots of people blow in insulation over the wires and they havent had any reported problems with them and dont enforce any local regs--just go by national codes on this.
Im dying to get this done as im in NE ohio and the temp is dropping today with my R9 or whatever up there trying to keep my heat in.
 
  #6  
Old 11-16-05, 12:28 PM
Member
Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: USA
Posts: 124
If you can reach the wires, then test them with your hand to see if they get hot. Turn on the TV, lamps, and whatever else is serviced by those wires, and see if the insulation gets hot under heavier-than-normal circumstances. I don't think that's a dangerous test if the insulation is intact. I did it successfully (and the wires were a tad warm, being only 15 amp capacity).

Someone may disagree, especially if the wire insulation is missing or crumbling. If the wire insulation crumbles while cool, that suggests the wires get hot and have taken their toll on the wire insulation.

J
 
  #7  
Old 11-16-05, 03:21 PM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: ohio
Posts: 195
Thanks thats a good idea. I will have to find some things to actually plug in i think since i reduced my load by a large margin last year. Ive got CFLs throughout my house even all the lamps are low wattage cfls.
 
  #8  
Old 11-20-05, 07:49 PM
Member
Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: Milwaukee WI
Posts: 1,338
Use an inductive, non-contact probe to test the wires. Fluke VoltAlert is one such instrument. Do not cover the knob-and-tube wiring with anything. Replace it first, then insulate.
 
  #9  
Old 11-22-05, 05:28 AM
Konrad Fischer
Visiting Guest
Posts: n/a
If you want to keep your heat in,

normal thermal insulation makes no sense - in spite of all R value mysteries. We did experiments and tested insulation and insulated houses and found out this.

The best should be a insulation by solid wood, bricks and so on. As sunlight will penetrate thin polystyrene or fiberglass boards, so IR radiation - 99% of heat transport through materials - will do it. And there are a lot of risks with dampness coming in blown insulation and others. Details: www.xxxxxxxxxxxxx-info.de/7mold.htm

>>>>Forum Monitors Notes:
The thread has been edited.

Advertisements within the forum topics or within replies posted or within personal signatures, personal web sites or including email addresses within replies or signatures is not allowed on this web site. Surveys, Ads, Advertisements, Solicitations to market products, services or to hire person(s) to perform work is also not allowed in any forum topics.

Posting email addresses for others to contact to obtain information or to market products or directing anyone to personal web sites which can market products or solicit services, etc are not allowed. There Are No Exceptions.

Members posting any of the above or similar, anywhere on the web site are doing so in violations to the policy and are subjected to suspension or banning.

No topics are to be used for personal gain using any method. Allowing any of the above degrades the entire web site for all concerned parties.

Read The Rules Here:
http://forum.doityourself.com/announcement.php?f=2&announcementid=113
http://forum.doityourself.com/announcement.php?f=2&announcementid=114

Sincerely, Robert Horning.
Web Site Administrator.
Sharp Advice. Web Site Host, Forums Monitor & Multiple Topics Moderator.
 

Last edited by Sharp Advice; 11-23-05 at 07:43 PM.
  #10  
Old 11-22-05, 07:00 AM
Member
Join Date: May 2004
Location: USA
Posts: 48
Originally Posted by d00bs
... Since materials would cost me only around 300 to add and get R50 i thought id do it myself....
Were did you find the loose fill. I have read many places that say HD or Lowes. I have been to the stores and online. Neither carry loose fill insulation
 
  #11  
Old 11-22-05, 11:44 AM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: ohio
Posts: 195
Well im talking about cellulose specifically the cocoon brand from greenstone.com. Both stores you mentioned carry them where i live at $7.37 a bag covering 40sq ft i think. Buying 250 worth of insulation gets u a free day usage of the machine to blow it in. If i were you i would call the stores and see what they offer.
 
  #12  
Old 11-22-05, 11:52 AM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: ohio
Posts: 195
Originally Posted by Konrad Fischer
normal thermal insulation makes no sense - in spite of all R value mysteries. We did experiments and tested insulation and insulated houses and found out this.

The best should be a insulation by solid wood, bricks and so on
Heh surely you arent suggesting i lug up a bunch of bricks and/or large solid pieces of wood to my unfinished attic right. LOL i think ill pass on that.
 
  #13  
Old 11-22-05, 02:05 PM
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: USA
Posts: 6,126
Attic loose fill insulation and knob & tube wiring

Apparently you are only looking at the myopic steady state world of pink R-values that never perform up to the advertisements (it is impossible!!!).

Konrad may not be 100% correct, but he is looking at real world building performance where there are dynamic temperature swings. There is documentation for increasing the effective insulating value of heavier materials when subjected to climate variations.

Unfornately, for the construction industry, R-values are too easy for people think they know everything. Ever wonder why schools, offices and commercial buildings seem so cold in the morning?

Dick
 
  #14  
Old 11-23-05, 02:45 AM
Konrad Fischer
Visiting Guest
Posts: n/a
Thank you Dick,

you must be a master of building and knowledge! Nice to meet you here.

Yes, I suggest to do the insulation in the attic f.e. by solid wood. And I did so since years, as I am architect in Germany and had about 400 successfull restoration projects since 1979. Try out 'Altbau' (=Old Building) in Google - you will find me on the first page.

In Germany we discuss since 20 years the problem of R values. And since then industry could never prove the insulating effort of 'light' thermal insulation. Just in opposite we find out more and more buildings, where thermal insulation will increase heating costs. So it is, unbelievable for some house owners but reality outside the tables and figures.
 
Reply

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