One problem with K&T is that whatever the condition of the original
material, it's seldom properly connected to more modern wiring:
and every incorrect junction is a potential problem.
Another is that users may overload K&T circuits - a single K&T circuit
often serves potential loads that would be split between multiple
circuits in a more recenly installed system. In my area it's not
unusual to find a single K&T circuit powering all the lights and
receptacles in three or four bedrooms and a bath on a top floor, but
power demands have increased (no window ACs back then!) and users many
be tempted to "overfuse" such circuits in an attempt to supply
sufficient power to loads at multiple locations on a single circuit.
So depending on the situation, when you have electrician throughly
inspect a K&T installation and identify existing defects you will often
find it's also desirable to pull additional circuits to meet modern
demands - in which case it's likely not all that much more expensive
to bypass the K&T with new circuits entirely.
Paragon Home Inspection, LLC
I agree with all of this but the most dangerous part are comnnections
buried in walls where they cant be inspected and may catch fire under a
long list of possible reasons.
insurance has good reasons for their rules...........
hey insurance wants to minimize payouts and make money, statistics show
K&T has more troubles and how many people really WANT a house fire?
Its risks injury and death, let alone the mental part of your home
burning, losing a place to live, and possesions.
We had fire victims here for over 7 months, the whole thing mnessed
I'm sure that the insurance companies are just considering the age of K&T wiring
when the consider it for insurance purposes. If K&T is used, it is pretty darn
Since it is so old, it has probably been messed with. ..........
if it wasnt a problem insurane wouldnt care...
this does everyone a good service since the home that burns might be
one you are visiting.
the poster who mentioned blown in insulation made a excellent point
thats a bad combo that can lead to overheating.
middle of the night once I turned on a bedroom light and got a shower
of sparks on bed, geez did I wake up fast.
bad wire insulation in light socket.
I replaced every single fixture like that! not worth the risk, since at
the time they were about 45 years old.
email@example.com posted for all of us...
I don't top post - see either inline or at bottom.
Again quote FACTS - not opinions. One of the other posters whom is an
insurance agent stated basically "it depends" Insurance co's determine their
own ratings and the FACT that some WILL insure it blows your OPINION out of the
Please note ALL your postings involve opinion and you never quote facts. When
you are called on it or corrected you ignore or change the subject.
fact is many insurance compnies wouldnt cover K&T that you cant deny.
some appear to cover it, probably at higher rates.
think about this.....
what does homeowners coverge cost maybe 500 bucks ours is less and we
have full replacement coverage
Have friends with home fires just smoke damage can cost 20 grand, that
was my next door neighbor his car caught on fire in his driveway,
caught a window on fire with brick home, 20 grand how many policies do
you have to sell to make a profit?
insurance is oing all of us a favor, and while your asking me what type
of wiring in YOUR HOME?
Properly installed and maintained K&T is quite safe, though it would
be a good idea to install GFCI outlets (properly labeled "no
The problem comes if it either wasn't a great installation in the
first place, or if it's been tampered with or damaged.
A good solder joint will last a century or longer, but a bad one can
get worse over time, e.g. corrosion from leftover flux, a cold joint
developing increasing resistance, etc. Depending on the age of the
house, the wiring may have been soldered using irons heated over a
fire, which made cold joints more likely since the iron didn't
maintain a constant temperature.
Many times you'll find amateurish additions to K&T systems, I've seen
Romex twisted on and wrapped in duct tape for added lights or
Some homeowners have blown insulation over wiring that was fine in
open air, but gets too hot without air circulation.
My own house was almost entirely K&T when we bought it, mostly on one
breaker (and a Zinsco breaker at that), so the insurance inspection
was more detailed than usual, and the inspector asked about what
appliances were going to be used in which rooms so he could get a
better idea of whether the wiring would be safe as we were using it.
No trouble once it was inspected and approved, but not every
insurance company will accept K&T.
firstname.lastname@example.org is Joshua Putnam
Now that sounds like a real dumb insurance company. I can understand
why insurance companies have issues with K&T and may choose not to
cover homes with it. But any insurance company that has inspectors
running around asking homeowners which appliances they are going to use
where, is surely stupid. Homeowners move appliances around all the
time. Also, someone doing anything from carpet cleaning to a
contractor doing home repairs can plug in various loads. Either the
wiring is safe with the fusing in place or it isn't.
Most homeowners use their kitchen appliances in the kitchen, not the
bedroom or the bath, so it does make sense to ask what kitchen
appliances a family uses. If we used a big microwave or other high-
draw plug-in appliance, that would pose more of a risk of overloading
a shared circuit than if we had no microwave.
Similarly, people who own high-wattage hair dryers tend to plug them
in. People who don't, don't.
Good points -- until we rewired, contractors were only allowed to use
two outlets in the house, and one outdoors, all 20A grounded circuits
on separate breakers.
Well, since we had an old Zinsco breaker box, probably *no* wiring
would have been completely safe with the fusing in place.
Some insurance companies that accept higher-risk properties charge
them all the highest-risk rate, others attempt to differentiate among
levels of increased risk, which requires a more detailed evaluation
of the home and how it would be used. The policy we had is available
for either owner-occupied or rental homes, but some of the conditions
that are acceptable for an owner-occupied home are not acceptable for
email@example.com is Joshua Putnam
Sure it makes sense. Like 2 years later someone won't buy a
microwave and plug it in where you didn't have one when the inspector
looked? Or buy a freezer and put it in the basement? Or your kids
won't plug a hair dryer in God knows where? Or add a window air
Yeah, right, that's a good way to determine if a place is safe to
insure. Try to figure out where they or a guest might plug in a hair
Then I not only wouldn't insure it, as an owner, I'd get it fixed.
Knob and tube is not by nature dangerous. The problem comes when adding
outlets to it, or when using it as a clothes line, whatever, to hang
stuff from in the basement :-) I just had my old place rewired to bring
it up to code. Why ... it's now a requirement in order to get insurance
... and to be honest I feel safer. The existing circuits were probably
at full capacity. I had had a new panel put in, and had put in a few
new circuits to the basement and 1st floor to ease that a bit, but the
time had come to have all the old wiring replaced. And since an
insurance company was involved, a certificate was required ... easier
to just hire an electrician to do the remaining work (in my case) and
to call in the inspector for that certificate.
Get some estimates ... it may not be *that* costly depending on what
all needs doing and the layout.
Having said that, the walls will likely end up with a few full holes
here and there for running the wiring ... and to be patched/painted. If
that's not a problem (diy), not much of an additional expense. Consider
patching/painting in that estimate. I still haven't finished all my
patching ... maybe next winter :-)
I think your onto the real problem now. When I bought this house only 3 of
the four 110v fused outlets were being used. I ran a line from the
empty(freezer) outlet to the kitchen as a temporary fix.
When I got a new entrance panel in and started replacing the wiring found
that almost all of the wall outlets, and the furnace, were on the same
circuit. The old entrance panel was on the back porch. The wiring on this
circuit wrapped all the way around the house and ended about 10' from the
entrance panel. The last outlet was where we had the coffeemaker and
toaster. The refrigerator had been near the end too, until I added the line.
The old wiring is 16 gauge! Probably 50-60' of it.
In a word, no. However, there are many variable factors and you need
hire a competent electrician who knows K & T to look the wiring over.
Involve the insurance company no more than necessary. Those bastards
are already insuring millions of miles of the stuff, in houses that
'rewired' by replacing the visible stuff and heavily loaded circuits
etc.) with modern wiring, maybe even the whole 1st floor which is easy
do from the basement, but leaving the inaccessible K & T to feed
lights and general lighting outlets. What they don't know won't hurt
and they know it. Their prohibition on K & T is as asinine as their
of fuse boxes; I'd much rather have a nice 60A fuse box feeding K & T
in good order than an obsolete FPE 100A circuit breaker box feeding
rusty BX cable or old-school ungrounded NM without a solder joint or
wire nut in the place...but what do you think the IC would want, hmm?
I would ten times rather have K & T with nice, soldered, splices in the
cool open air, covered in molded rubber tape and friction tape, than
early ungrounded NM jammed 6 cables at a time into 3 1/2" round
metal boxes, twisted together and insulated with friction tape or
tape or whatever else the 1940s DIYer had laying around. Ick.
Now, that early NM was tough stuff when new -- very well protected
by rubber, cambric, fiber wrapping, and its braided jacket -- and its
copper wire is beautifully soft and workable compared with the modern
stuff, but its insulation actually seems less durable than whatever
it was (gutta percha?) that the earlier K & T had.
Modifications are usually the problem. Properly installed K&T with
correctly soldered joints and suitable fixtures, and additions made
other methods done following all the rules for K&T is safe. Often,
you find K & T buried in insulation: not good, cool air can't reach it,
water leaks can saturate the insulation leaving a niiiice current path.
K & T in insulation is not a total write-off, but I don't like it, and
take special care not to overload it. I suggest, actually, using it
its design load, since it has no air circulating around it. One
evil is where NM was attached by wrapping the wire around the
stripped K & T with one layer of tape, a perfect recipe for a poor
Advice: Hire that electrician. Have the heavily loaded circuits
bath, outlets for window ac or elec. heaters) upgraded one by one.
Treat the old K & T as it was meant to be treated: carefully. Use it
lighting and light loads, and it will serve you well. And let the
co. do the burning.
iF INSURANCE required k&t removal and the homeowner cheats by just
replacing the exposed wiring leaving K&T thru the less accessible areas
and a fire occurs expect insurance to disown you...........
one of the troubles with K&T is that you cant easily examine the sloder
joints since they are buried in the walls....
wiuth no boxes
This is true only if the knob and tube wiring was the direct cause of
the loss. An insurance contract is a "contract of utmost good faith."
Once you collect a premium you must pay any covered loss. Information
that was concealed from the insurer only voids the contract if it
concealed the cause of the loss.
Well we aren\'t no thin blue heroes and yet we aren\'t no blackguards to.
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