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Old 11-14-2011, 11:13 AM   #1
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Is there a problem connecting a modern 5 light halogen fixture to old knob and tube wiring? Could this cause a fire?

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Old 11-14-2011, 11:35 AM   #2
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Many newer fixtures have a warning label stating they are to be used with wiring having insulation rated 90 degree C. Knob and tube is not 90 degree rated.

Even without the warning the additional heat would bake any remaining life out of the insulation on the wires.

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Answers based on the National Electrical Code. Local amendments may apply. Check with your local building officials.
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Old 11-14-2011, 12:12 PM   #3
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If the fixture is not recessed into the wall or ceiling close to the wiring then all that counts is the watts drawn by the fixture and other things on that circuit. The typical knob and tube circuit is 14 gauge wiring that supports 12 amps continuous or 15 amps intermittent.
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Old 11-14-2011, 12:57 PM   #4
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If the fixture is recessed, you still may be able to safely use it with K&T if code allows. You will need to install a new (accessible) junction box at least a foot away from the fixture box. Terminate the K&T there, then run 90 degree NM from that box to the fixture. That way, only properly rated cable will be exposed to the heat. Again, this is a part of NEC (and I believe IEC) that is a little vague, so if your jurisdiction includes one of these codes I'd probably rewire the circuit or use a pendant-type fixture.
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