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Knob and Tube Wiring 101

Knob and Tube Wiring 101 - Westridge Electric - Electric Contractors Calgary

Long before our modern methods of electrical wiring, there was knob and tube wiring, or K&T.

Homes that were built in between the 1880s and the 1930s may still be using this historic approach. Here’s what you should know about K&T and what it may mean for you as a homeowner:

How Does It Work?

Knob and tube wiring consists of insulated copper conductors that run within the walls. These pass through joist and stud drill-holes via protective porcelain insulating tubes. The wiring is supported throughout using porcelain knob insulators.

What Are the Advantages?

When it first came about, K&T was very affordable, making it the obvious choice for many contractors and homeowners. The design of the system could also handle higher currents than other systems without causing a short. In fact, the ceramic insulators are so effective that they are still in use today!

What Are the Disadvantages?

Unfortunately, K&T was not without its faults. For example, the original wiring method never included a safety grounding conductor. While this may not have been a huge problem back in the day, our modern-day living proved to be just too much for K&T. In the 1930s, the average family had a fridge, a stove, and a furnace. Today we have all that plus televisions, dishwashers, washing machines, sound systems, computers, and more. All the power, and subsequently heat, produced by all of our appliances is a recipe for disaster within our walls. Combine that with the proximity of house insulation and it is just a fire waiting to happen.

What Does That Mean for You?

If you own an older home, there is a strong possibility that it has K&T wiring. While this is not inherently dangerous on its own, there are some factors to be aware of. For one, some insurance companies will not offer home insurance to those houses with K&T. Another potentially dangerous situation can arise when alterations have been made to the wiring. K&T wiring is fairly particular and these changes can actually make your wiring more of a hazard. If you suspect that your home has K&T wiring, call in the experts to examine your electrical system. They can help you decide whether to update what you have or start fresh with a modernized system.

Knob and tube wiring was incredibly popular for years, but for many reasons has fallen out of the mainstream. That being said, many homes still contain this type of wiring and special considerations need to be made in order to keep the residence safe for its inhabitants. Contact Westridge Electric today for an inspection of your home’s wiring. We can help identify any potential issues or, at the very least, put your worries to rest. After all, your home should be safe, and we are trained to help keep it that way!