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Old 01-27-2010, 03:50 AM   #1
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Switch on K&T wiring - OK to pigtail?


I'm replacing a light switch in a friend's house. Old house (1920s), I assume it's K&T, the wire is fabric-coated. My friend told me the switch only worked intermittently, and tapping it would sometimes cause the light to flicker.

When I examined the switch, it had completely deteriorated, and basically fell apart as soon as I pulled on it a bit to get it out of the box. (The screws holding the cable to the switch just broke in half - threads separated from the screw heads!) The switch mechanism itself also seems really shabby, almost like this thing was built by a 4-year-old whose building knowledge extends no further than Legos...

The wiring itself looks like it's still in great shape. The insulation is in good condition and the wire ends are clean. There's nothing to indicate the wiring had anything to do with the failure (the switch looks like it's of extremely poor quality anyway).

The only problem is whoever installed this particular switch did not leave even a single half-inch of spare wire to work with! This means, I can't pull the wires out enough to screw them onto the new switch.

Is there any way I (legally) can extend those wires just a few inches with a wirenut/pigtail, or is this a situation where a complete re-wiring would be an order based on NEC? I know they're really picky on K&T stuff... This to me seems like a trivial reason to have to pull down wall and run new wire, but I obviously want to do this the RIGHT way.

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Old 01-27-2010, 07:27 AM   #2
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Switch on K&T wiring - OK to pigtail?


Yes you can extend the wires.

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Old 01-27-2010, 07:44 AM   #3
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Switch on K&T wiring - OK to pigtail?


You cannot replace k&t with k&t or extend it with k&t, but you can junction k&t to modern wiring in a box. The fabric loom of the k&t must protrude into the box.
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Old 01-27-2010, 09:12 AM   #4
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Switch on K&T wiring - OK to pigtail?


so, KT, for clarity's sake, are you saying that OP can pigtail with extra wiring for the switch so long as it was in a box?
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Old 01-27-2010, 09:15 AM   #5
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Switch on K&T wiring - OK to pigtail?


Yes, you don't want to pigtail KT with more KT
And you can't extend a KT circuit, even with adding new wire - IE to a another box
But pigtail new wire in the box for the connection is OK
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