Do you live in a home that’s many decades old? If so, you probably have things you both like and dislike about it. A home with a long history behind it can be fascinating, especially if it has been in the family for many generations. However, keeping an old home functioning properly can certainly take quite a bit of effort. If you have a list somewhere of upgrades and renovations you need to make to your old home, you should add “replacing knob and tube wiring” to the top of the list.
What is Knob and Tube Wiring?
Invented in the late 19th century, and phased out in the mid-20th, knob and tube wiring was one of the first methods for outfitting a private residence with electricity. It consisted of suspending uninsulated wires inside the walls using porcelain knobs. These knobs ensured that the wires did not come into contact with the walls, which could cause a fire. In those areas where the wire had to pass through a wall, it would be surrounded by a tube with a type of cloth sleeve in it. Hence the name “knob and tube” wiring.
This was quite the innovative technology in the late 1800’s, but by the mid-1900’s the growing installation of insulated wiring caused knob and tube wiring to be phased out. However, there are still plenty of older homes in use today that use knob and tube wiring.
The Dangers of Knob and Tube Wiring
Aside from the fact that some of this stuff is likely over a century old, knob and tube wiring is still pretty unsafe. Uninsulated wiring is not something that you ever want to use if you have another option. The odds of something accidentally contacting the wire, causing a short and possibly sparking a fire, are very high. This risk climbs even higher when you consider that the wires used in this system are not rated to handle the standard electrical load being placed on systems in the 21st century. In the first part of the 20th century, the average home obviously used quite a bit less power than what we do today. That extra load takes its toll over time, and putting that much voltage through an old wire that was never designed for it is a great way to cause serious problems.
Replacing Knob and Tube Wiring
Knob and tube wiring can be time consuming to replace, and can require a big investment if a large part of your home uses it. However, the cost to replace the system is always worth it compared to the damage that old knob and tube wiring can cause. If you know that part of your home uses knob and tube wiring, don’t wait to have it replaced. Do it now so you don’t have to worry about it later.
Anderson Electric Corp. offers knob and tube replacement services throughout Montclair, NJ. If you need electrical services of any kind, contact us today to schedule an appointment with one of our experts.