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Knob and Tube Wiring: How Does it Work?

incandescent-lightsWhen we discuss electrical issues, we usually mean cases of modern electrical wiring malfunctioning in some way. That’s not always the case, though. Believe it or not, some homes still make use of electrical wiring that is over a century old. If your home happens to be one of the ones that use that kind of wiring, it would be a very good idea for you to replace it as soon as possible. Read on to find out about knob and tube wiring, why it’s so dangerous, and when to replace it.

Knob and Tube Wiring

The invention of electrical wiring actually predates the invention of insulation for electrical wiring. As you can imagine, this meant that early attempts to wire homes to make use of electricity were quite a bit more dangerous. Uninsulated wires are liable to transmit the current that flows through them into whatever they touch, whether that be the walls or a person. In order to prevent serious injury or property damage, these early wires were precariously suspended away from the walls using a knob and tube system. The knobs are made of ceramic, and keep the wires from touching the walls in which they are installed. At points where the wiring is required to pass through the wall, a ceramic tube is used to insulate it. While this worked relatively well for preventing issues with the wiring, it was far from being as effective as modern insulation.

Problems with Knob and Tube Wiring

There are a great many issues that knob and tube wiring present that modern wiring does not. For one thing, knob and tube wiring still has a much higher chance of sparking house fires or causing electrocution than other wiring does. The wires may be suspended inside the walls, but they’re still uninsulated. If one of the knobs fails, or something falls on the wires, significant damage could still occur.

Aside from the obvious issues with keeping uninsulated wiring in your home, there’s the added problem of very few professional contractors being able to service it. Knob and tube wiring went out of vogue in the early 20th century, after the invention and widespread application of wiring insulation. Those few contractors that do service knob and tube wiring are not all of the same quality. If you trust the wrong contractor to handle your wiring for you, you may end up in an even worse position.

Finally, there’s the issue with the age of the wiring. Since knob and tube wiring hasn’t been used for decades, chances are good that any knob and tube wiring that you have is quite old. The older the wiring is, the more likely it will be to have issues develop with it. For all of these reasons, you should have any knob and tube wiring in your home replaced immediately.

Anderson Electric Corp offers knob and tube wiring services in Caldwell, NJ. If you need your knob and tube wiring replaced, contact us today to schedule an appointment with one of our expert electricians.  

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