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Old 04-20-2019, 10:43 AM   #1
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1940's house and was told the electrical was updated


I am at my nephews how and we are redoing his kitchen. We decided to replace the drywall (this is below the attic space) this is the electrical mess that was behind the light. I think it's some old tube and knob wiring connected to more modern wiring (which I am guess is why they said it was updated). I think I have 2 options at this point. Finish the walls and doing the ceiling last after I call an electrician or figure out how to clean up this mess. Sadly, all I am familiar with regarding electrical is changing out lights.
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Old 04-20-2019, 10:54 AM   #2
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Re: 1940's house and was told the electrical was updated


Not an electrician, they will be along, but looking at that wiring I suggest you bring in the electrician first and have him check the entire house. What we see there is what burns down houses and certainly no electrician did that. So the upgraded electrical you were relying on was a total hack, thus check it out before you finish walls or ceilings, he may need to run new wires.

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Old 04-20-2019, 11:16 AM   #3
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Re: 1940's house and was told the electrical was updated


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Originally Posted by klmeenan View Post
...and was told the electrical was updated
Told by whom?

Quote:
all I am familiar with regarding electrical is changing out lights.
And nephew knows even less?

Go back to square one with a proper whole house pre-purchase inspection.
Along the way find an electrician you can have reason to trust.
Don't do anything else until you've crossed those two bridges.
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Old 04-20-2019, 11:40 AM   #4
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Quote:
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Quote:
Originally Posted by klmeenan View Post
...and was told the electrical was updated
Told by whom?
My nephews now ex girlfriends father who used to live here.

Quote:
all I am familiar with regarding electrical is changing out lights.
And nephew knows even less?

Yes he knows much less than I do. Yesterday wr were teach him how to install base cabinets, countertop and new sink. He is getting a major crash course in old houses.

Go back to square one with a proper whole house pre-purchase inspection.
Along the way find an electrician you can have reason to trust.
Don't do anything else until you've crossed those two bridges.
I don't even want to put the light back up on that mess. It does have a breaker box so a little was done but I now totally don't trust that!
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Old 04-20-2019, 12:05 PM   #5
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Re: 1940's house and was told the electrical was updated


I did a walk through not that long ago for someone looking to buy. There was a brand new electrical panel and all of the visible wiring had been changed to new. However, once I started poking around the "still live" knot and tube wiring was still there. Strong evidence at the panel that it was not installed bu an electrician, which is strange as that usually involves pulling the meter. So remodeled homes will often make things look good but hide things like that wiring you found.

Be safe.

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Old 04-20-2019, 12:08 PM   #6
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Re: 1940's house and was told the electrical was updated


The seller probably had the service panel replace and increased its size (ampacity) and called that "updated".

What you show is not knob and tube. It looks like what the house was originally wired with was what at one time known as BX cable or metallic cable. The original wiring was probably ungrounded but the BX cable can serve as a ground. Looks like additional wiring was done with NM (non-metallic) cable commonly known as Romex. The additionally wiring was extremely poorly done. All wire connections must be made in a fire rated box.

The original wiring is probably OK, but if this is an example of work that has been done over time I would be very concerned.
If you know anyone that has any real knowledge about residential wiring, consult with them and then call a qualified electrician. By discussing with someone with some reasonable knowledge first, you will better prepared to discuss it with the electrician.
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Old 04-20-2019, 02:45 PM   #7
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Re: 1940's house and was told the electrical was updated


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Finish the walls and doing the ceiling last after I call an electrician.....

Call the electrician before you close up the walls.
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Old 04-20-2019, 04:53 PM   #8
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Re: 1940's house and was told the electrical was updated


You have a couple of options -
Get an experienced electrician to check it all and do insulation resistance testing.
This will reveal any problems.
Instal arc fault breakers on all circuits.
This way if any problems pop up the breakers will kill that circuit.
Or else do a total / partial rewire.
which is probably best but also most expensive.
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Old 04-20-2019, 06:45 PM   #9
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Re: 1940's house and was told the electrical was updated


Small photo but I don't see BX or any armoured cable (no K&T either) but to me it looks like old fabric ungrounded cable with new cable patched in.
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Old 04-20-2019, 07:39 PM   #10
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Re: 1940's house and was told the electrical was updated


HA! Updated, my butt! Hacked is more like it. Please stop what you're doing right now, and call an electrician on Monday to come out and decide what to do from there. If it were me, I would rewire the entire house. I would NOT feel safe with 1940's cloth-covered, ungrounded wiring throughout the house. The cloth-covered rubber insulation tends to become brittle and flake off the wires, especially when exposed to the heat from fixtures. This causes short circuits, arcing, and fires.


Things like this really get my goat.
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Old 04-21-2019, 07:03 PM   #11
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We have a call out to get an estimate. It looks like he may have rewired the crawl space electrical and left the attic stuff original and hacked into the original to pull power to lights in another room.
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Old 04-21-2019, 09:35 PM   #12
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Re: 1940's house and was told the electrical was updated


You should check the real estate listing disclosure records. If the buyer certified the house did not have knob and tube wiring you might have legal recourse.

My daughter had a similar situation. New service, rewire of main floor but they fed old k&t for second floor. Junction boxes with Romex in, k&t out.

In the end we decommissioned all the k&t and ran grounded Romex fed by afci breakers to bedrooms.










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Old 04-21-2019, 09:39 PM   #13
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Re: 1940's house and was told the electrical was updated


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Originally Posted by curiousB View Post
You should check the real estate listing disclosure records. If the buyer certified the house did not have knob and tube wiring you might have legal recourse.

My daughter had a similar situation. New service, rewire of main floor but they fed old k&t for second floor. Junction boxes with Romex in, k&t out.

In the end we decommissioned all the k&t and ran grounded Romex fed by afci breakers to bedrooms.

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The picture doesn't show K&T.
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Old 04-21-2019, 10:26 PM   #14
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Re: 1940's house and was told the electrical was updated


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HA! Updated, my butt!

"Updated electric" is a real estate sales term. Could be new panel, new circuits added, devices changed. Doesn't mean "gutted all electrical and installed all new system in compliance with latest codes."
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Old 04-24-2019, 10:40 AM   #15
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Re: 1940's house and was told the electrical was updated


Where I live, code says if you alter anything in a circuit, you have to upgrade to the latest codes for installing arc fault, ground fault and child resistant receptacles. No "grandfather" clause on those items. I think that would drive you to upgrade all circuits to current code.
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