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Old 02-22-2012, 10:09 PM   #1
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Knob and tube rewire - tracing circuit wires


Hello, I'm looking to get started on a conversion from knob and tube. For starters I plan to have an electrician replace the fuse box with install a 30 circuit 100 Amp breaker. From there I'd like to take care of running new circuits and replacing, to the extent possible, the old knob and tube circuits.

I've mapped out all the circuits but this does not help for knowing where all the wires actually run in the ceiling and walls for a given circuit. I'm assuming that one needs to know the physical routing of a circuit in order to do a conversion. By "converting" I mean to use the same receptacles that were being fed by the knob and tube and instead feed them with the new grounded romex from the breaker.

Unfortunately they put a finished ceiling in the basement when the home was built in 1953 so that makes this makes physically tracing the wires more difficult than with most other homes.

Any pointers on how to go about tracing where the wires are physically routed for a given circuit?

Thanks.

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Old 02-23-2012, 04:02 AM   #2
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Knob and tube rewire - tracing circuit wires


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Originally Posted by JoeT View Post
Hello, I'm looking to get started on a conversion from knob and tube. For starters I plan to have an electrician replace the fuse box with install a 30 circuit 100 Amp breaker. From there I'd like to take care of running new circuits and replacing, to the extent possible, the old knob and tube circuits.

I've mapped out all the circuits but this does not help for knowing where all the wires actually run in the ceiling and walls for a given circuit. I'm assuming that one needs to know the physical routing of a circuit in order to do a conversion. By "converting" I mean to use the same receptacles that were being fed by the knob and tube and instead feed them with the new grounded romex from the breaker.

Unfortunately they put a finished ceiling in the basement when the home was built in 1953 so that makes this makes physically tracing the wires more difficult than with most other homes.

Any pointers on how to go about tracing where the wires are physically routed for a given circuit?

Thanks.
How about using a thermal type camera ?

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Old 02-23-2012, 04:32 AM   #3
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Knob and tube rewire - tracing circuit wires


Quote:
Originally Posted by JoeT
Hello, I'm looking to get started on a conversion from knob and tube. For starters I plan to have an electrician replace the fuse box with install a 30 circuit 100 Amp breaker. From there I'd like to take care of running new circuits and replacing, to the extent possible, the old knob and tube circuits.

I've mapped out all the circuits but this does not help for knowing where all the wires actually run in the ceiling and walls for a given circuit. I'm assuming that one needs to know the physical routing of a circuit in order to do a conversion. By "converting" I mean to use the same receptacles that were being fed by the knob and tube and instead feed them with the new grounded romex from the breaker.

Unfortunately they put a finished ceiling in the basement when the home was built in 1953 so that makes this makes physically tracing the wires more difficult than with most other homes.

Any pointers on how to go about tracing where the wires are physically routed for a given circuit?

Thanks.
they do make circuit tracers that will help in this case. it injects a radio signal into the electric lines, that are picked up on the supplied receiver. it's meant to ID the breaker that the circuit is attached to, but it may be able to trace the route of the wire through the walls.
They do make more powerful ones, we use one at work for tracing underground wires.
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Old 02-23-2012, 05:15 AM   #4
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Knob and tube rewire - tracing circuit wires


Your wasting your time trying to trace or follow that old knob & tube.
It's almost impossible.
They often did not run the hot wire and neutral wire together.

Plus, you can not pull wire into an existing box. You can remove the box and pull to the hole, then replace box.
But you can't get wire into the box with the box still in the wall
But you wouldn't want to re-use that old small box anyway.
Anything in the kitchen and bathrooms need new seperate circuits also.

Forget the old stuff and layout circuits to modern standards.

You will have to put holes for pulling wire here and there. A little thought will minimize them.

Plus you will get good at patching holes.
Good luck

Last edited by jammin06; 02-23-2012 at 05:21 AM.
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Old 02-23-2012, 05:19 AM   #5
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Knob and tube rewire - tracing circuit wires


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Originally Posted by jammin06 View Post
Your wasting your time trying to trace or follow that old knob & tube.
It's almost impossible.
They often did not run the hot wire and neutral wire together.

Plus, you can not pull wire into an existing box. You can remove the box and pull to the hole, then replace box. But you wouldn't want to re-use that old small box anyway.
Anything in the kitchen and bathrooms need seperate circuits also.

Forget the old stuff and layout circuits to modern standards.

You will have to put holes for pulling wire here and there. A little thought will minimize them.

Plus you will get good at patching holes.
Good luck
Excellent point.
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Old 02-23-2012, 09:23 PM   #6
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Knob and tube rewire - tracing circuit wires


Thanks for advice. I was originally thinking knowing the physical layout was a necessary prerequisite for doing the job.

I'm hoping to get a good idea of what I'm doing before getting started. It seems like there is allot of the how-to information on this topic spread out across the many different threads on this forum. I just wish there was a such a thing as one DIY reference book that tells you everything you need to know to do this type of job it safely and to code. Guess it's a matter of jumping in and figuring it out as I go along? Looks like there are fair number of DIYers on the site who have undertaking this task so that give me hope.

I have Rex Caudwell's For Pros By Pros Wiring a House
http://www.amazon.com/Wiring-House-4...tt_at_ep_dpt_1

If gives knob and tube some coverage. Are their any other good books out there?
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Old 02-23-2012, 10:18 PM   #7
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Knob and tube rewire - tracing circuit wires


I have work plenty tube et knobs before so I know what it will result so therefore if you going to upgrade to modern circuits you will have to do it backward what you will oringally do.,

I know you may be little suprised why on this one let me tell you as one poster gave you a good pointer there.

Let me add this in the mix the way the T&K is laided out if you did cut the wrong conductor you may end up shut half or most of the house out of commison until you fix that one so therefore start with your couple homeruns to the point where you can have few conductors meet one junction box for new one once you get that room done ( in attic is the most easiest way to trace it ) and work it way back to the source.

The other thing I will warn you with older T&K more than half of the time you may run into switched netural not the hot side so be extra aware with that and oddball three way switch set if you do just set it aside until you double check the luminaire socket poliatry ( Californie three way is about the most crazy three way'er you will see if have it there )

The other thing with old tube et knob when you install the new breaker before you take the old fuse apart please take either bleu or red or other tape and mark every conductor which it landed at the fuse so the reason why I mention due you have to keep them in correct " leg " colour format if you did not and have californie three way expect the light bulb to blow up quick ( reason due if you have wrong leg hook up will end up 240 volts at the luminaire socket )

Merci,
Marc

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