Living in an older Nevada home can be an adventure, but the old electrical wiring can come with challenges. Do you live in a home built in the early to mid-20th century? If you do, you probably have what’s known as knob and tube (K & T) wiring. Here are some of the issues with this type of wiring and why it may not be safe, along with how Penny Electric can totally rewire your home.

What is Knob and Tube Wiring?

Put simply, knob and tube wiring is a type of electrical wiring consisting of copper wiring in which there’s one hot wiring and one neutral one that runs in knobs and tubes made of porcelain.  Unlike modern wiring, knob and tube wiring does not have ground wire, making it unable to accommodate three-pronged plugs. What’s more, there’s a considerably greater risk for shocks and fire.  The insulation for the wiring is another difference as knob and tube wiring uses rubber as insulation instead of plastic, which is used for modern wiring. Moreover, since this older wiring uses a type of rubberized cloth fabric, it has to be replaced frequently.

Is Knob and Tube Wiring Dangerous?

Just because a home has knob and tube wiring doesn’t mean the house is in impending danger of catching on fire. If the wiring isn’t tampered with, it’s not dangerous. But issues can arise when the wiring is altered.

For example, making improper slices and adding connections can be risky as well as replacing an original fuse with one that’s larger for preventing frequent power outages. Another issue is adding insulation to attics, walls and over the wiring. Heat generated from modern lighting and an unvented attic can cause danger. Another problem is aging because the wires can start to deteriorate over time.

Can Having Knob and Tube Wiring Make it Difficult to Obtain a Homeowner’s Insurance Policy?

Living in a home with this kind of outdated wiring can make it hard to get homeowner’s insurance. In fact, most insurance companies will not insure homes that have this type of older wiring because of fire risk. However, sometimes exceptions are considered for homes in which an electrician has confirmed that the electrical system is safe.

Other Problems with Knob and Tube Wiring:

Besides problems with alterations, other issues can occur with K & T wiring, such as:

  • Excess electrical use—Consider that when your old wiring was installed, there weren’t a lot of electrical appliances in the home.  Back then, the average home only had a toaster, coffee percolator, tea kettle and a clothes iron. However, modern homes today are equipped with washers, dryers, TVs, computers, sound systems and other electrical appliances. Too many power bars and extension cords can put a strain on your electrical system.
  • Insulation covering the wiring—The insulation housing knob and tube wiring can be a huge fire hazard as it’s made of rubber and cloth, making it require too much room for dissipating built-up heat. This can create an extremely dangerous situation.
  • Brittleness in the insulation—With age, the cloth and rubberized insulation can become brittle, flaking off.
  • Damaged wiring—When knob and tube wiring becomes damaged from trying to repair it or from wear and tear, the wires can fray and sag, which can expose live wires. This can be a serious safety hazard.
  • No grounding conductor—Not having grounding conductors increases the likelihood of electrical fire as well as sensitive equipment becoming damaged.

Recommendations for Homeowners With Knob and Tube Wiring

  • Have a highly qualified and experienced electrical contractor evaluate your electrical system to ensure it’s safe.
  • Avoid running too many appliances in your house because this can be a fire hazard.
  • Replace any brittle or cracked wiring.
  • Don’t use knob and tube wiring in bathrooms, kitchens, outdoors or in laundry areas.

 Don’t risk living in a home that could be a potential fire hazard. To be safe and prevent these problems, you should replace your wiring. Penny Electric has a proven reputation for quality work in doing whole house rewiring projects. For more information on our wide range of residential and commercial electrical  services for Las Vegas residents and those living in surrounding areas,  contact us.