If you have an older home, then you might have knob and tube wiring. While this type of wiring isn’t necessarily wrong, there are a few things that you should know about it. With knowledge about your home’s wiring, you can decide whether or not you need to replace it.
What Is Knob and Tube Wiring?
Wiring in homes that were built decades ago is different from wiring in modern homes. In some older homes, electricians used knob and tube wiring. There is some controversy behind this type of wiring. For the most part, people believe that this type of wiring isn’t as good as modern wiring methods. However, knob and tube wiring is not necessarily worse than modern wiring. It’s important that you understand this type of wiring and what it means for your home.
Knob and tube wiring was the type of wiring that homeowners used until the second half of the 20th century. With this type of wiring, there are ceramic knobs that support the wires. Ceramic tubes support the wires as they go through the wooden framing materials in your home.
There are a few key differences between knob and tube wiring and modern wiring.
1.The Black and White Wires
In knob and tube wiring, the white and black wires run separately. They have a few inches of space between them. However, modern wiring is different. The white, black, and ground wire all stay together in one cable. Unlike knob and tube wiring, there is no spacing.
Another point of difference is the insulation. In modern wiring, the insulation material is plastic. The older wiring uses rubber to insulate. Over time, the rubber can break down. For this reason, knob and tube wiring can overheat or break down quicker and more easily than modern wiring. Plastic tends to last longer and be more reliable.
3. Copper Wire Diameter
With knob and tube, electricians used copper wire that had a larger diameter than modern copper wires. With a larger diameter, the wires are more likely to stay cool during use. As the electricity flows, the wire is less likely to become hot and overheat.
4. Ground Wiring
In modern-day wiring, there is a ground wire. However, wiring of the knob and tube variety lack this ground wire. the ground wire is a precaution against shock. Because it lacks this protection, knob and tube wiring can be more dangerous than modern wiring.
Is it Unsafe?
No type of wiring is perfect. Knob and tube wiring is no exception. However, it does come with some risks. For example, the lack of a ground wire makes for a higher risk of shock than with modern wiring.
Additionally, the age of this type of wiring makes it more dangerous than modern wiring. Over time, wires age. The rubber insulation on the wires could wear. As a result, your electrical system could overheat. This is especially true in high-heat areas. After decades of use and repairs, your home’s wiring might not be as safe as it should be.
A final safety issue is the lack of circuits. Years ago, people had fewer technology demands than they do today. As a result, homes had fewer circuits. An electrician could have extended your system to meet those demands. This increases the chance of bad connections in your wiring and overheating.
Other Wiring Options
If you have knob and tube wiring, then you should have an electrician examine your home’s wiring. He might not see any problems with your system. However, he might notice some major issues. Or, your insurance company could require that you replace the wiring. In either case, it is in your best interest to replace your wiring.
If you need to replace the wiring in your home, then you have a few options. Here are a few types of wiring that you should consider:
1. Partial Replacement
You might not need to replace all of the wiring in your home. If you speak to an electrician, then he might be able to explain how to do a partial replacement. You could keep some elements of your wiring, but replace other elements with modern wiring.
2. Nonmetallic Cable
In many modern homes, you can find nonmetallic cable. This wiring option uses two or more wires in a plastic sheath. Usually, there is a neutral wire, a current-carrying wire, and a ground wire.
In some cases, conduit wiring is used. This type of wiring involves using a rigid or flexible tube to store wires. It works well for areas that leave you with exposed wires.
Replacing Your Wires
There are other options for your home’s wiring. However, it’s best to speak with your electrician about those options. Every home has different wiring needs. With the help of a professional, you can find out what option is best for your home. Don’t hesitate to find a replacement for your knob and tube wiring.