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shaner123 02-17-2011 06:05 PM

my new house.. and the knob and tube
hi everyone.. a couple weeks ago i posted about a house i looked at with knob and tube. well i bought it.

its a late 1910's home in windsor, ontario

my insurance said that they may have me get an electrical inspection and do the repairs as per the inspection. i told them there was 1 knob and tube light in the attic and they were ok with it..

now. after the inspection i found out a few things.

1. the k&t in the attic is active. and a few of the 2nd floor fixtures are one it along with the light for the attic itself.
2. none of the outlets in the entire house are k&t. i tested every one and they all have grounds.
3. it is possible that some of the 1st floor light fixtures may have k&t upto the ceiling. but unlikely as the kitchen was remodeled 10yrs ago and they mentioned they replaced all the wireing on the ground floor at that time.

so. i've got some k&t light fixtures to repace in the attic.

i want to disconnect this wiring and replace it with proper copper so i dont have to worry about the insulation and the exposed k&t. but i would imagine the feed is coming from below is still k&t. can i splice these connections in a junction box? is this proper? i dont know if there is any other way to do it.. i can't get into the walls on the 2nd floor because they are all plaster. any thoughts?

shaner123 02-17-2011 06:05 PM

oh and... thanks to all those who replied to my last post.

oh'mike 02-17-2011 06:46 PM

You will have to find a way to get a run down to the breaker box----The walls are hollow---

Usually a hole can be drilled into the top plate of the wall(up in the attic)

Remove a section of baseboard and drill down into the next floors wall cavity-
Then drill up from the basement into the bottom plate--

You get the idea---there is a way to get a new circuit from the basement up to the attic without wrecking the plaster---Mike----

An electrician or other antique house owner will offer suggestions,I'm sure.---Mike---

Wildie 02-17-2011 08:11 PM

Some old houses from that era were 'ballon' framed.
If this is so in your case, fishing wire down the outside walls is very easy, as the studs run from the top of the 2nd floor walls down to the basement, without being blocked.

shaner123 02-17-2011 10:41 PM

thanks.. so what about the light switches? i guess i will need to feed down to the switches then down to the floor, drill though the bottom plate of the 2nd floor, then down to the first floor, and though to the basement?

if we need to do this for say, 5 lights.. it might be a bit of work.. should i imagine i could be in for a couple grand??

oh'mike 02-18-2011 06:32 AM

It's not easy to guess at the amount of work involved----I suggest that you tool up--and plan on doing some of this your self.

If that is not an option----head to your local electrical supply store and ask what electrician is a magician at fishing inside walls.

If you decide that you want to bite off the job----this site has some very experienced folks here that have done exactly what you are facing.

---Mike--- P.S.--Put your location into your profile---local codes---good supply houses--It helps.

fabrk8r 02-18-2011 06:57 AM

Shaner123, I bought a circa 1908 house in 2003. I had it inspected before buying it and the inspector said the wiring had been updated. I should have inspected it myself, I could have done a better job. Someone had installed a lot of poorly run, but well hidden romex to replace the easy-to-get-to K&T (basement and attic), but had left active K&T in the first floor ceiling and first and second floor walls.
Normally K&T is not a problem if it's still in good condition, which mine was. The problem is that at some point someone had blown cellulose insulation into the first floor ceiling joist spaces on some of the perimeter rooms and it was packed tightly against the still active K&T.
I am still in the process of replacing the K&T in the walls, but have fixed the worrisome areas for peace of mind.

If you have any questions or need some tips, let me know. You can do it!

imbosse 03-07-2011 08:39 PM

Windsor K&T
if you find someone to do this job conservatively priced please let me know. I am in a frighteningly similar situation same build year, same issue, same plaster. Insurance gave me 30 days, I am now past this and begging for an extension. :(

Jim F 03-07-2011 08:52 PM

Currently in the process of rewiring some of the kitchen as well as adding a few switches and outlets. I won't lie, it can be time consuming and labor intensive for the novice. An electrician charges a pretty penny and once you get into it you'll understand why.

Just be sure to do it right and ask questions. It may even still be worth your while to pay an electrician to look at tyour work and hook up th the service panel.

RTypeEman 03-08-2011 08:39 PM

shaner123, what part of windsor are you in? could give you some advice in person

psuryan 03-09-2011 07:06 PM

Just had a similar problem in my house, hidden knob and tube everywhere that was exposed when I removed a plaster ceiling, along with all sorts of splices.

After the electricians comments were "this is a lot of work", I took a few days to read up on the proper way to fix this, and decided to go with the complete redo down to the breaker box. All in all, took me 2 days spent between the rooms to fix one breakers worth of wiring. Alot of this was spent with me in the attic reading the wiring books I had purchased.

Anyway, after only one issue (where I had to use a small box and the ground was not tucked in enough, tripping the breaker), all works well and is up to par, and I am sleeping much better now.

As for the inpection, same thing here, they found one strip of it in the attic, the rest I found later in the plaster ceiling.

Good luck, and be sure if you do it yourself, draw out a good map of the connections, this lets you ask your questions here before you are in the attic. You also have the option of running most of the wire, and having an electricion come in and do the actual hook up for you. Mine was willing to do this, I don;t know if all of them are though.

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