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Ask Our Electricians: What Is Knob and Tube Wiring?

stripping-wiresWe do not expect our clients to have a great understanding of how their electrical systems work. That’s what our fine electricians in Marysville, WA are here for. As a homeowner, however, you should have some idea of how your system works—as well as why you may have some concerns about its components, including its wiring. If you live in an older home, then you may have knob and tube wiring in place.

While this is not the disaster that some outlets would lead you to believe, it is a good idea to have your system updated if this is the case. Today, we are going to talk about what knob and tube wiring actually is, and why using it in your home is not really ideal. As always, we urge you to contact a member of our team with any questions that you may have. Remember, only licensed, professional electricians are qualified to service your electrical system.

What Exactly Is Knob and Tube Wiring?

Knob and tube wiring is a very early method of electrical wiring that was very common up until the 1930s. Copper conductors were run through wall or ceiling cavities, and would pass through holes drilled in joists and studs. Porcelain insulating tubes were used to protect the conductors, while knob insulators supported them.

As technology marched on, interior wiring became cheaper thanks to power cables that combined the power conductors required by a circuit. These days, knob and tube wiring is no longer installed in residential applications—and only very, very rarely in other sectors.

Why Is Knob and Tube Wiring a Problem?

As we mentioned above, a lot of folks hear knob and tube wiring and they immediately suspect a serious, dangerous problem in their homes. This is not necessarily the case. Sure, knob and tube wiring is lacking in some safety precautions, but the fact is that knob and tube wiring that was properly and professionally installed at the time, and which has not been damaged or improperly modified in the time since, is still fairly safe. Provided that current carrying limits are not being exceeded.

That’s a big “if,” and the fact is that this is typically the biggest concern in this day and age. Whole-house HVAC systems and the various appliances that we use in our homes may mean that your knob and tube wiring simply is not able to keep up with the demand in your residence. Because you really don’t want to be modifying existing knob and tube wiring, rewiring your house is the way to go.

If you are selling your home and want to upgrade the system to sweeten the deal, or if you are staying in your house and just want to make sure that your electrical system can keep up with your demands, you need to hire a professional electrician to handle the wiring. This is never, ever a job that can be entrusted to an unqualified individual.

Schedule your electrical services with G & S Heating Cooling & Electric.

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