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Old 02-23-2010, 12:02 AM   #1
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can modern circuit breakers handle knob and tube?


Reason I ask is while doing some drywall demo, I'm fairly positive I've uncovered a splice box, with Romex spliced to K&T in it. Not only am I royally pissed (last owner supposedly updated all electric), but I'm also concerned. If something were to go wrong with the wiring, would a circuit breaker trip before the wiring had time to start a fire?

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Old 02-23-2010, 12:05 AM   #2
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can modern circuit breakers handle knob and tube?


I would have been pissed enough just to find a hidden junction box. Those things are not supposed to be hidden behind walls.

I have no idea about your question though.

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Old 02-23-2010, 03:22 AM   #3
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can modern circuit breakers handle knob and tube?


circuit breaker or fuse doesnt care what kind of wiring you have its rated full a certain load
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Old 02-23-2010, 07:07 AM   #4
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can modern circuit breakers handle knob and tube?


Yes they can handle it, as plummen said
I have seen new service installed
They will not run the K&T into the new panel

Instead they run romex from the panel to the K&T & splice it in
It should always be spliced in a junction box
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Old 02-23-2010, 07:35 AM   #5
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can modern circuit breakers handle knob and tube?


The important thing is that the breaker be matched to the wire size regardless of wiring method. If the breaker ampacity is too large the wire may overheat and cause a fire before the breaker could trip.

Knob and tube is also not allowed to be used in thermal insulation.

Buried splices are a hazard and will make troubleshooting a royal pain.
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Old 02-23-2010, 07:39 AM   #6
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can modern circuit breakers handle knob and tube?


The wall is open. Now is the time get rid of the K&T.
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Old 02-23-2010, 07:52 AM   #7
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can modern circuit breakers handle knob and tube?


I'd get rid of the K&T too

CA & Washington have reversed the no-insulation rule
Not sure about other states
PDF on K&T
http://www.creia.org/files/public/knob_tube_locked.pdf

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Since no fires related to insulation around knob-and-tube wiring had occurred in California, the Insulation Contractors Association (ICA) challenged this section of NEC. The California Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD), which is the state agency with authority to adapt the NEC in order to create the State Electrical Code, met with the ICA, Underwriter's Laboratory, the Electric and Gas Industries Association, the State Building Standards Committee, and the State Fire Marshall to review the Code. As a result of these meetings, on February 15, 1991, they amended the State Electrical Code. The amended code allows insulation that envelops knob-and- tube conductors as long as (among other things) a licensed electrical contractor certifies that the wiring is in good condition, and an appropriately sized fuse that cannot be altered is installed.
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Old 02-23-2010, 07:28 PM   #8
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can modern circuit breakers handle knob and tube?


Get a kick out of this splice I just found:

Yes, you are seeing K&T spliced to romex, inside of a horizontal stud, topped off with drywall.

The romex is a whole 6 inches long, and is "capped" with electrical tape and string.

Lovely.
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Old 02-23-2010, 07:37 PM   #9
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can modern circuit breakers handle knob and tube?


Wow, that is nuts. I just don't understand why people do that kind of stuff. You could be sued over it, if it causes a fire. The former owner in this case.
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Old 02-23-2010, 07:39 PM   #10
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can modern circuit breakers handle knob and tube?


Here's a pic of the whole splice (I split the stud apart so I could free the wiring without taking apart the splice):

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Old 02-25-2010, 02:37 PM   #11
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can modern circuit breakers handle knob and tube?


I cut the splice off and measured voltage. I'm only getting 16 volts off this knob and tube stuff. Anyone know what the hell that could mean?
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Old 02-25-2010, 06:54 PM   #12
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can modern circuit breakers handle knob and tube?


It means you are using a digital meter and there is probably actually no voltage there.
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Old 02-25-2010, 07:14 PM   #13
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can modern circuit breakers handle knob and tube?


Quote:
Originally Posted by joed View Post
It means you are using a digital meter and there is probably actually no voltage there.
I had around 0 when I cut power off to the room..Unless that old wiring is picking up something somehow. I don't know. Is there any other way to test it without sticking my fingers on it to see what happens?
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Old 02-25-2010, 08:57 PM   #14
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can modern circuit breakers handle knob and tube?


That splice is typical of remodeling contractors. Home owners hire them thinking they are getting qualified tradesmen. Truth is most of them hire jack-of-all-trades-master-of-none! I've seen and been hired to fix many of these problems.
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Old 02-25-2010, 09:30 PM   #15
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can modern circuit breakers handle knob and tube?


If you're measuring 16 volts AC, you might be looking at doorbell wiring. Put your meter on it while someone pushes the doorbell button and see if the voltage drops to or near 0 volts.

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