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-   -   Knob & Tube Wiring? (http://www.diychatroom.com/f18/knob-tube-wiring-153884/)

cbzdel 08-16-2012 11:19 AM

Knob & Tube Wiring?
 
About a year ago my friend bought house from the 30s, advertised as being completely renovated (new plumbing, electrical, flooring, ect..) The inspector came out and said and said the place looks great for the price, commented that the service panel was less than 5 years old and all the wiring is the same, and that all of the visable knob and tube wiring in the attic is not active and may be removed is wanted. Fast forward to yesterday. My friend asked if I could help install some new light fixtures. I cut the power and pulled the fixtures, all of which are hooked up to the old knob and tube wiring. The home inspector was wrong, all of the old wiring is still active. (I am not here to bash inspectors, as with any profession there are the good and bad).

So what happens at this point? My friend thinks he house is going to burn down now, he cant afford to re-wire the house. He would of not even bought the house if he knew this wiring existed. Again the real estate agency listed as new electrical, and the inspector confirmed this, do either accept any sort of liability for the mistake?

I guess the big question is, is it even safe to have knob and tube wiring hooked up to a modern service panel? Keep in mind there are no grounds on the lights or power sockets, yet he has 3 prong sockets.

Also I was thinking, if the inspection report reads all the electrical is newer, does the insurance company base their rates off of this? I got to thinking what if his house burns down due to an electrical fire caused by this wiring, could the insurance company say oh this says you have new wiring, can they get around his claim this way?

AllanJ 08-16-2012 11:31 AM

Just because it is hooked up to a modern panel does not make knob and tube wiring more unsafe.

Actually the wiring can last much longer provided you do not put insulation batting or foam or cellulose around it.

Only crumbling wire insulation, leaving bare spots, (or the insurance company's insistence) would make it necessary to decommission the K&T wiring immediately.

Did the seller say that the wiring was all modernized? If so he could be held responsible for misrepresentation. Owning up to the responsibility could involve helping to pay for rewiring as opposed to taking back the house and refunding the amount paid.

Take action now. Don't wait for the insurance company to find out you have the K&T wiring.

cbzdel 08-16-2012 11:50 AM

It was a bank owned property, but the agent in charge of the listing specifically stated "updated electrical", he still has a copy of the originally listing. And the inspector confirmed that the electrical was updated.

He looked at a house prior to this one, and it in fact had active knob and tube wiring and he could not even get a loan on it unless he agreed to upgrade the wiring, so he wanted nothing to do with that house. If the bank knew about the wiring on this house he would of never been able to buy it..

saladdin 08-16-2012 01:40 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by cbzdel (Post 990256)
It was a bank owned property, but the agent in charge of the listing specifically stated "updated electrical", he still has a copy of the originally listing. And the inspector confirmed that the electrical was updated.

He looked at a house prior to this one, and it in fact had active knob and tube wiring and he could not even get a loan on it unless he agreed to upgrade the wiring, so he wanted nothing to do with that house. If the bank knew about the wiring on this house he would of never been able to buy it..

Your friend needs to pull the paperwork and contract and see what he signed for. If it is not what he agreed to buy then see a good real estate attorney.

The experts will chime in, I'n no electrician, but many houses have this wiring and are fine. No reason to panic now.

parman 08-16-2012 01:54 PM

K&T wiring is usually fine until it starts to get brittle from overheating. Once that starts to happen, then the insulation on the wires starts to crumble off, causing exposed live conductors.

Exposed live conductors touching an ungrounded piece of metal can cause the metal to heat up, which in turn can cause a fire.

I don't like working with the stuff because it seems like all the instances I have found have been really brittle and just touching it makes it crumble apart.

Technically he has "new electrical" because of the new panel. Does not mean all the wiring has been replaced.

without a "ground" then you cannot have 3-prong receptacles. An electrical inspector should have caught that but I believe you are talking about a "home inspector". If someone remodeled the house and put in new 3-prong receptacles then the electrical inspector did not catch that, then they need a new electrical inspector. Most likely the work was done without a permit or inspection.

I could be wrong, but I believe you can feed older K&T with a new panel, but I probably would not have any breaker over 15A just to help prevent overheating of the wires.

dmxtothemax 08-16-2012 06:16 PM

There are a lot of "maybe's" in this story !
Many grey area's, legal people could drag this one out for many years !
If there is concern, then get an electricain in to bring it up to code !
Cause usually the cost of repairs is less then the replacement cost
of the house, (should it burn down).
In the mean time, if you have an electricain instal gfci's
on all circuits, this will reduce the risk of major problems.
Get it done, then worry about the lgal issue's involved.
Cause it will not be sorted out quickly.

Jim Port 08-16-2012 07:02 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by parman (Post 990343)
without a "ground" then you cannot have 3-prong receptacles. An electrical inspector should have caught that but I believe you are talking about a "home inspector". If someone remodeled the house and put in new 3-prong receptacles then the electrical inspector did not catch that, then they need a new electrical inspector. Most likely the work was done without a permit or inspection.

You can use 3 prong receptacles on a two wire system. They can have a grounding conductor added to the old wiring or be GFI protected and be labeled "No equipment ground".

parman 08-17-2012 06:05 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Jim Port (Post 990518)
You can use 3 prong receptacles on a two wire system. They can have a grounding conductor added to the old wiring or be GFI protected and be labeled "No equipment ground".

Yes I am aware of these exceptions. I was making a lot of assumptions based on the OP's descriptions of the situations and assumed neither of those options were in effect.

creeper 08-17-2012 06:33 AM

[quote=AllanJ;990244

Did the seller say that the wiring was all modernized? If so he could be held responsible for misrepresentation. Owning up to the responsibility could involve helping to pay for rewiring as opposed to taking back the house and refunding the amount paid.

.[/quote]

True.

Its all in the wording. If the listing and the Seller claimed it was ALL new wiring, then it is definitely misrepresntation.
If they said "some updated electrical" or even just "updated electrical" a court might not rule in the sellers favour.


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