My 1950's vintage rambler has some newer wiring, but also some older
(probably original) cloth covered wiring, which I discovered on changing out
some sockets. What is the story on this type of wiring? Is it ok to leave
it? I imagine replacing it would be enormously expensive.
50's Romex almost certainly has individual conductors with
TW (plastic) insulation. Unless subjected to high temps
(like in ceiling fixture boxes), the conductor insulation
should be good for a long time to come. If you find
brittle/burned insulation, then be concerned.
I don't know if this applies to you, but I have a bunch of BX with
cloth insulated conductors in my (1949-built) house. The parts of it I
get to see, (the last couple of inches in each box) seems brittle and
easily damaged. I also had only 4 circuits for the whole house.
My plan has been to put in new circuits for anything that uses real
current, leaving just lights, TVs, etc. on the original wiring. So now
I have circuits for each window AC, the refrigerator, microwave,
workshop, washer, dryer and even the computer I'm typing this on.
(that one was mosly for convenience).
I figure I'm lowering my chances of a problem a little bit at a time.
A circuit that used to have two window ACs, plus a refrigerator
(electricity must have been a minor consideration when this house was
built) and a smattering of other stuff now handles just a TV, a clock
radio and two ceiling fixtures. Less current, less heat, fewer
problems, I hope.
In some houses that might be true. I live in a brick house with
interior walls of plaster and no accessible attic. There's also no
basement and the lower floor is all finished with the exception of
the garage and the boiler room/laundry room.
I assume that there is a web of old wiring between the two floors of
the house, and some more up through the interior walls to the second
floor ceiling fixtures. I'd have to tear up finished ceilings just to
FIND the old wiring. Since I can decide where to run the new circuits,
I've been able to make just a few strategic openings.
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