If you were born before 1965 you probably have not only heard of knob and tube wiring, you’ve likely lived in a home wired with knob and tube. It was the wiring method used inside homes built in the late 19th century and through the 1930s and 1940s. There are homes constructed as late as the 1960s and 1970s originally wired with knob and tube.
While knob and tube functioned well in powering homes for a half century or more, it is not considered safe today. Why? Two words. Fire Hazard.
Besides the obvious threat fire hazard poses to people and property, there is the very practical issue of obtaining homeowners’ insurance. Many insurance companies refuse to write a policy on a residential home wired with knob and tube. Here’s why:
- It’s old. Anything that is 60 to 70+ years old is bound to show signs of wear and tear. Over time, wires tend to stretch, sag, and possibly fray. Live wire exposure is a serious risk due to cracks or breaks in ceramic sheathing and/or natural deterioration of cloth and rubber insulating materials used with knob and tube.
- It’s not up to speed. The additional electrical load of modern homes requires higher amp service than knob and tube can provides.
- It’s not grounded. Knob and tube increases risk of personal injury or death due to shock. knob and tube wiring are limited to two-prong receptacles. Most things today … from computers to refrigerators … require three-prong receptacles.
- Its design. Power usage generates heat. Knob and tube dissipates heat into open air. Knob and tube wiring in spaces such as attics, walls, and ceilings may now be surrounded by insulation. This is a perfect storm of heat build-up followed by fire.
- Dicing and splicing. Homeowners or amateurs they have hired are notorious for unsafely “modifying” knob and tube systems. Examples run the gamut from using Scotch tape or masking tape rather than electrical tape to wrap connections without using a junction box.
For your safety and protection, make sure your home is properly wired. Contact a licensed electrician about upgrading an outdated home electrical system.
Regardless of the age or location of your home, contact your Trusted Choice Independent Insurance Agent at Richey-Barrett for homeowner’s insurance.