Go Back   DIY Chatroom Home Improvement Forum > Home Improvement > Electrical

CLICK HERE AND JOIN OUR COMMUNITY TODAY...IT'S FREE!

Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
Old 08-03-2011, 11:58 AM   #1
Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2011
Location: Columbus Indiana
Posts: 90
Rewards Points: 75
Default

Can you tell?


Can you tell from looking at a light switch if it is knob and tube wireing? I know there is existing knob and tube in the house, but was told its all old and not active anymore. I can see alot of the wiring throughout the house is encased in a black cloth with a silver looking paint on it.

Also what does Aluminum wiring look like? I have a dead outlet that my father-in-law said was aluminum but we cant tell for sure. I have 3/4 of the house with 2 prong outlets, but the metal boxes they are housed in are grounded direct to the box.

Mr Smiley is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-03-2011, 12:25 PM   #2
Sparky
 
Join Date: Mar 2011
Location: Central Florida
Posts: 703
Rewards Points: 504
Default

Can you tell?


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Knob_and_tube_wiring

Aluminum wire will look silver, copper looks orange.

Techy is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-03-2011, 01:24 PM   #3
Member
 
joed's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Welland, Ontario
Posts: 8,147
Rewards Points: 3,088
Blog Entries: 4
Default

Can you tell?


And old copper wire can be tin plated and look silver. I would say if you have two prong receptacles then the old K&T has not been all replacecd. Who would put old two prong receptacles back on a new grounded circuit.
__________________
Do not PM with questions that can be asked in a forum. I will not respond.
joed is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 08-03-2011, 01:28 PM   #4
Licensed Pro
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: SC
Posts: 1,545
Rewards Points: 1,000
Default

Can you tell?


Quote:
Originally Posted by joed View Post
And old copper wire can be tin plated and look silver. I would say if you have two prong receptacles then the old K&T has not been all replacecd. Who would put old two prong receptacles back on a new grounded circuit.
The knob and tube could have been replaced prior to the requirement of grounded circuits.
You can sometimes identify K&T at a switch or receptacle by looking to see if the wire enters the box as a single wire surrounded by a black loom material. This is not always definitive because many times the K&T will be tied to a two conductor cable for runs to switches and receptacles.
__________________
"Life is hard. Life is harder when you're stupid." John Wayne
HouseHelper is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-03-2011, 01:44 PM   #5
Retired from the grind
 
gregzoll's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: Midwest - Central Illinois
Posts: 14,341
Rewards Points: 2,344
Default

Can you tell?


Quote:
Originally Posted by joed
And old copper wire can be tin plated and look silver. I would say if you have two prong receptacles then the old K&T has not been all replacecd. Who would put old two prong receptacles back on a new grounded circuit.
Not true. Not all ungrounded circuits are knob & tube. My house had BX, and used two prong outlets.
__________________
Ren: Now listen, Cadet. I've got a job for you. See this button? Ren: Don't touch it! It's the History Eraser button, you fool! Stimpy: So what'll happen? Ren: That's just it. We don't know. Maybe something bad, maybe something good. I guess we'll never know, 'cause you're going to guard it. You won't touch it, will you?
gregzoll is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-03-2011, 01:45 PM   #6
Retired from the grind
 
gregzoll's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: Midwest - Central Illinois
Posts: 14,341
Rewards Points: 2,344
Default

Can you tell?


Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr Smiley
Can you tell from looking at a light switch if it is knob and tube wireing? I know there is existing knob and tube in the house, but was told its all old and not active anymore. I can see alot of the wiring throughout the house is encased in a black cloth with a silver looking paint on it.

Also what does Aluminum wiring look like? I have a dead outlet that my father-in-law said was aluminum but we cant tell for sure. I have 3/4 of the house with 2 prong outlets, but the metal boxes they are housed in are grounded direct to the box.
No, there is no way of knowing by just staring at the wall.
__________________
Ren: Now listen, Cadet. I've got a job for you. See this button? Ren: Don't touch it! It's the History Eraser button, you fool! Stimpy: So what'll happen? Ren: That's just it. We don't know. Maybe something bad, maybe something good. I guess we'll never know, 'cause you're going to guard it. You won't touch it, will you?
gregzoll is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-03-2011, 01:49 PM   #7
Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2011
Location: Columbus Indiana
Posts: 90
Rewards Points: 75
Default

Can you tell?


When I look into the box i see two conductors, if i look between the wall and the metal box i see a black wire with a silver paint look to it. I believe its cloth and am 100% sure its not plastic coated. The inspection stated we have K&T in the attic but we were told by the owner its dead. Maybe ill have to make sure for myself. I know they had a fuse pannel up untill 2005 when they installed the 200 amp box that is now full.
Mr Smiley is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-03-2011, 02:01 PM   #8
fabrk8r
 
fabrk8r's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2010
Location: Iowa
Posts: 849
Rewards Points: 500
Default

Can you tell?


Pull the outlet and use an inspection mirror and light to look into the wall cavity to see if there are two separate conductors and if you can see the knobs/tubes.
__________________
"The physician can bury his mistakes, but the architect can only advise his clients to plant vines." -- Frank Lloyd Wright
fabrk8r is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-03-2011, 02:08 PM   #9
Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2011
Location: Columbus Indiana
Posts: 90
Rewards Points: 75
Default

Can you tell?


Quote:
Originally Posted by fabrk8r View Post
Pull the outlet and use an inspection mirror and light to look into the wall cavity to see if there are two separate conductors and if you can see the knobs/tubes.

Hey I just happen to have one of those but not sure if i have the room to slide it in but Ill report back with my findings.
Mr Smiley is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-03-2011, 02:36 PM   #10
Lic Electrical Inspector
 
electures's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: The Great Police State of New Jersey
Posts: 1,731
Rewards Points: 1,068
Default

Can you tell?


Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr Smiley View Post
Can you tell from looking at a light switch if it is knob and tube wireing? I know there is existing knob and tube in the house, but was told its all old and not active anymore. I can see alot of the wiring throughout the house is encased in a black cloth with a silver looking paint on it.

Also what does Aluminum wiring look like? I have a dead outlet that my father-in-law said was aluminum but we cant tell for sure. I have 3/4 of the house with 2 prong outlets, but the metal boxes they are housed in are grounded direct to the box.
Do you have x-ray vision?

__________________
All responses based on the 2011 NEC.
If you live in New Jersey click here. All other states click here.
Please check with local, county and state officials as laws may vary.
Sizing motors here. Online motor calculator here. Online calculators here.
electures is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-03-2011, 04:10 PM   #11
Retired from the grind
 
gregzoll's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: Midwest - Central Illinois
Posts: 14,341
Rewards Points: 2,344
Default

Can you tell?


Take a picture of the inside of the panel, and lines leading to it. If you are unsure, take and put a fan up in the attic hatch to blow cool air up there for about a half hour before going in, and take a look. You can also undo ceiling lights and see if too separate leads feed to it, instead of Romex.

Knob & tube is not that hard to distinguish, because it is very distinctive, compared to older cloth & rubber covered Romex.
gregzoll is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-03-2011, 07:59 PM   #12
Lic Electrical Inspector
 
electures's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: The Great Police State of New Jersey
Posts: 1,731
Rewards Points: 1,068
Default

Can you tell?


Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr Smiley View Post
When I look into the box i see two conductors, if i look between the wall and the metal box i see a black wire with a silver paint look to it. I believe its cloth and am 100% sure its not plastic coated. The inspection stated we have K&T in the attic but we were told by the owner its dead. Maybe ill have to make sure for myself. I know they had a fuse pannel up untill 2005 when they installed the 200 amp box that is now full.
Are both wires coming in the same hole or seperate holes? Are they secured to the box with a clamp or connector?
__________________
All responses based on the 2011 NEC.
If you live in New Jersey click here. All other states click here.
Please check with local, county and state officials as laws may vary.
Sizing motors here. Online motor calculator here. Online calculators here.
electures is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-03-2011, 08:41 PM   #13
Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2011
Location: Columbus Indiana
Posts: 90
Rewards Points: 75
Default

Can you tell?


Quote:
Originally Posted by electures View Post
Are both wires coming in the same hole or seperate holes? Are they secured to the box with a clamp or connector?
Single jacketed black cloth, with the silverish paint color, then in the metal box its a black conductor and then a white conductor. When i get a chance ill get a picture of the panel with the wires going in. Should i remove the cover?
Mr Smiley is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-03-2011, 09:08 PM   #14
Retired from the grind
 
gregzoll's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: Midwest - Central Illinois
Posts: 14,341
Rewards Points: 2,344
Default

Can you tell?


No need. Sounds like you have ungrounded Romex. You can just have the door open on the panel if you wish when you take the photo. Remember, most home inspectors in this Buyer's market a year or two ago were not home inspectors. I would trust what they stated as much as the paperwork they gave you. Where you there when the inspection was done on the home, so that you could walk through with them? If you think that there may be live knob & tube still, climb up in the attic, or look at wiring in the basement, especially at junction boxes.
gregzoll is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-03-2011, 09:39 PM   #15
Lic Electrical Inspector
 
electures's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: The Great Police State of New Jersey
Posts: 1,731
Rewards Points: 1,068
Default

Can you tell?


Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr Smiley

Single jacketed black cloth, with the silverish paint color, then in the metal box its a black conductor and then a white conductor. When i get a chance ill get a picture of the panel with the wires going in. Should i remove the cover?
Is the wire connected to the box with a romex connector or using the clamp? Back when that type of romex was used the electricians used to double back the ground wire and wrap it around the romex connector or around the cable clamp screw. Look closely at the clamp screw or romex connector and see if the ground wire is there.

__________________
All responses based on the 2011 NEC.
If you live in New Jersey click here. All other states click here.
Please check with local, county and state officials as laws may vary.
Sizing motors here. Online motor calculator here. Online calculators here.
electures is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply


Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off





Top of Page | View New Posts

Copyright © 2003-2014 Escalate Media. All Rights Reserved.