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Old 04-03-2012, 06:54 PM   #1
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2 Prong Outlets


I'm a total noob so bare with me!

The home I just bought was built in 1927, and has knob/tube wiring with 2 prong outlets. I'm exploring options so I can have 3 prong outlets, that are grounded. A friend said I should be able to just add GFCI outlets all over and that would satisfy things, another friend said that is BS and the outlet needs to be metal frame for the GFCI to ground to, and another friend said they are both wrong, no way to get a ground for a k/t setup, and I need to run all new electrical. I'm sure this is basic stuff, but I'm buried with stuff and was hoping someone could give me a quick electrical 101? Thanks in advance!

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Old 04-03-2012, 07:04 PM   #2
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2 Prong Outlets


Friend #3 is right!
You can add a gfci and get a 3 prong receptacle without a ground.

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Old 04-03-2012, 07:19 PM   #3
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2 Prong Outlets


knob and tube can be dangerous, especially after 85 years, and should be replaced. None of your outlets or appliances will ever be protected by grounding. Plus, you can't insulate your walls or anywhere else the K&T runs.

http://www.nachi.org/knob-and-tube.htm

http://www.knobandtubewiring.com/

In 1996 I had an insurance company turn me down when I bought a 1938 home with original wiring, which was flex conduit and a 4-fuse panel (house was only 920 square feet), which is way better than knob and tube. So I'm surprised anyone insures a K&T home these days.
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Old 04-03-2012, 08:02 PM   #4
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knob and tube can be dangerous, especially after 85 years, and should be replaced. None of your outlets or appliances will ever be protected by grounding. Plus, you can't insulate your walls or anywhere else the K&T runs.

http://www.nachi.org/knob-and-tube.htm

http://www.knobandtubewiring.com/

In 1996 I had an insurance company turn me down when I bought a 1938 home with original wiring, which was flex conduit and a 4-fuse panel (house was only 920 square feet), which is way better than knob and tube. So I'm surprised anyone insures a K&T home these days.
how hard is it to remove K&T? the home is a 2 story home, 1,600square feet +600 sq ft attic, unfinished basement. so its a small house, only a few light fixtures and 1 outlet per room running K&T. open basement allows for easy access to first floor, attic has new service coming in from outside home. so its pretty much just a few rooms on second floor. can't they just fish it out?
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Old 04-03-2012, 08:10 PM   #5
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Ground wires (equipment grounding conductors) protect equipment and to some extent protect people. Ground fault circuit interrupter units protect just people but to a better, almost absolute degree.

You can ground 3 prong receptacles on knob and tube wiring by running a separate ground wire all the way to the panel. This wire can be run exposed along baseboards, etc.

One GFCI receptacle unit can protect several receptacles provided that from any location there is just one hot path and just one neutral path back to the panel and the hot and neutral both serve the various receptacles in the same order. This is not true of all knob and tube circuits. The GFCI would be the "first" receptacle along the line.

Each 3 prong receptacle location with no ground must be GFCI protected and be labeled 'GFCI protected, no equipment ground".
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Last edited by AllanJ; 04-03-2012 at 08:15 PM.
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Old 04-03-2012, 08:21 PM   #6
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Not that hard, but will be a PITA to pull a whole length at a time, so that would mean cutting it in manageable lengths to remove. It is easier if you are able to open walls to remove, then that way while they are open, you can not only pull the new runs of Romex, but you are also able to have the walls insulated. Then again, if windows & doors have not been replaced, that would be on the list after upgrading wiring.
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Old 04-03-2012, 08:23 PM   #7
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An electrician looked at my house today and came up with the idea of running two chases from basement to attic. one is being built for my plumbing, the other is an old laundry chute, so very minimal expense. This would allow brand new electrical on all 3 floors. I guess I still need to figure out how we go from new wiring to outlets, and what to do about old fixtures, I imagine those will be pretty easy to fish out..
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Old 04-03-2012, 08:24 PM   #8
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Not that hard, but will be a PITA to pull a whole length at a time, so that would mean cutting it in manageable lengths to remove. It is easier if you are able to open walls to remove, then that way while they are open, you can not only pull the new runs of Romex, but you are also able to have the walls insulated. Then again, if windows & doors have not been replaced, that would be on the list after upgrading wiring.
home is plaster on brick
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Old 04-03-2012, 10:55 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MOD220

how hard is it to remove K&T? the home is a 2 story home, 1,600square feet +600 sq ft attic, unfinished basement. so its a small house, only a few light fixtures and 1 outlet per room running K&T. open basement allows for easy access to first floor, attic has new service coming in from outside home. so its pretty much just a few rooms on second floor. can't they just fish it out?
Pros can give you better advice, but from my experience you can usually fish almost anything with basement and attic access. Hardest ones will likely be ceiling fixtures on the first floor.

I assume your walls are plaster and lath, only brick on exterior right? Often there is space behind the baseboard in an old house, you might check that out as an option to run wires along walls for additional outlets, as you probably need more.

Kitchen could be a pain because of the number of circuits you need to meet current code.

So you should be able to abandon the k&t and just run new wires. Not a small job, but doable.
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Old 04-04-2012, 07:50 AM   #10
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After a length of cable or knob and tube wiring is known to be disconnected at both ends (all three ends for K&T with a T-joint) it can be cut off and left buried in the wall.

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