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Old 10-22-2015, 12:04 PM   #1
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Replacing knob and tube


Hello all

I'm in Ontario, Canada and have started getting quotes on replacing knob and tube in a century home we recently purchased. It's 1800 sq ft, two stories, small back addition, partially finished basement (joists accessible in one half) and has an accessible attic with lots of headroom. It has 100 amp service on a breaker panel approx. 10 years old with room for 10 additional circuits. From the panel I see only two live K&T circuits but most outlets and switches are using K&T based on a visual inspection so they've tied into it at some point out of sight. No ground on most outlets, obviously, but the small addition seems to be wired properly with all circuits testing ok. I have a couple of questions:

- would anyone like to share their experiences with replacing K&T
- I'm getting quotes from $6K to $18K. What's reasonable for approx. 50 outlets?
- the detached garage is running off one of the addition circuits? it also powers an outdoor sump pump. Is this allowed by code?
- does code require the addition of hardwired smoke and co detectors on a rewire job? I'm getting conflicting answers from the electricians quoting.
- any other advice?

Thanks for taking the time to read this.
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Old 10-22-2015, 07:20 PM   #2
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Old 10-22-2015, 07:32 PM   #3
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Amazing to me you did not get these quotes before you bought the house to lower the price.
No one on any web site is going to do any more then guess on what it's going to cost.
No one here is on site, know what your loads are going to be, what local labor rates are.
Local building inspector will now if hardwired smokes will be needed.
Going to need permits.
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Old 10-22-2015, 07:35 PM   #4
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It is impossible to quote a rewire. There are so many things that can only be known be visiting the house. Somethings like, how hard is it fish new cables? Does the quote include repairs to walls etc? Many don't. Is the panel large enough to handle all the new circuits?

Here is a link to ESASAFE FAQ page. Many of your questions might be answered here.

http://www.frontlines247.com/frontli...word=esatrade2
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Old 10-22-2015, 07:45 PM   #5
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Why is a newer panel connected to K&T wiring in the first place? I don't know of any Canadian electrician who would do that.
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Old 10-22-2015, 08:36 PM   #6
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Re smokies and carbon detectors. In my area the county requires any permit over 1k$ to have interconnected devices and low flow toilets to pass final. All permits not just electric.
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Old 10-22-2015, 10:25 PM   #7
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Thanks to all who responded. To clarify:

I knew going in that rewiring would be necessary and guesstimated $10K. Not enough time to get multiple electricians in to quote in this hot real estate market. Offer was adjusted accordingly.

I'm not looking for quotes just a sense if $6K is too low or $18K too high considering access is fairly decent to the untrained eye. $18K seems excessive to me. $6K makes me wonder what's going to be left out that shouldn't be. I've asked both more detailed quotes.

The two k&t runs at the panel are not directly connected to the breaker. There are short romex runs from the breaker and then a pig tail tied in to the k&t just above the panel. Same thing at other points further away from the panel and likely some I can't see.

I expect few, if any, new circuits. If needed there is room in the panel so I'm not looking at a panel replacement or service upgrade.

On the code questions, I'm getting conflicting opinions from master electricians although I only have two quotes so far. I was hoping someone from Ontario on this forum might have some experience with how code applies in a retrofit situation for hardwired smoke/co detectors and with a detached garage. Re the former, one says they're not needed, the other say they are. Re the latter, one says the garage needs to be on a dedicated circuit while the other says it's ok as long as no more than 12 outlets on the circuit. It current shares a 15amp circuit with the addition with the cable properly buried as far as I can tell.

Again, thanks for reading this newbies post. I'm a puppeteer, not an electrician
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Old 10-22-2015, 10:35 PM   #8
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You just can't predict how long fishing wires can take. I assisted my electrician last week with running some new wires. Our three way switches and new circuit lines went in pretty well without too much grief. But the last one, a simple run from the attic to a new switch 4' from the ceiling was a bear. He had the hardest time getting through the top plate. Finally was able to drill up with an extra long drill bit from the opening for the switch box to the top plate. Where it came out did not make much sense. Close to two hours to drop that one line. (Phil informed me that if I want anything else on that wall that HE isn't doing it.)
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Old 10-22-2015, 10:45 PM   #9
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In a complete rewire I would expect smokes to be required.
I know of no code requiring dedicated circuits for garage.
The rule for 12 outlets is the maximum number allowed for any circuit in the house.
The only dedicated circuits I know of are refrigerator, one circuit per refrigerator. And outdoor receptacles, only outdoor receptacles are allowed on the circuit. Each porch or balcony must have a receptacle.
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Old 10-22-2015, 10:47 PM   #10
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Microwaves require a dedicated circuit, also.
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Old 10-23-2015, 07:02 AM   #11
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Quote:
Microwaves require a dedicated circuit, also.
No, most do not. An OTR microwave does require one, but a counter top model can use one of the SABC's.
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Old 10-23-2015, 07:29 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Sanders View Post
Why is a newer panel connected to K&T wiring in the first place? I don't know of any Canadian electrician who would do that.
Why not? Is knob & tube not a code-compliant wiring method in Canada? Because it's perfectly acceptable to do a panel change out like that here in the U.S.
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Old 10-23-2015, 09:54 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MaineLL View Post
Microwaves require a dedicated circuit, also.
Not in Ontario, unless the installation instruction call for it or the receptacle is in a cabinet.

Last edited by joed; 10-23-2015 at 10:02 AM.
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Old 10-23-2015, 11:45 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pharon View Post
Why not? Is knob & tube not a code-compliant wiring method in Canada? Because it's perfectly acceptable to do a panel change out like that here in the U.S.
Most insurance companies here in Canada will no longer insure a house with K&T, but I believe it's still grandfathered in Canada so long as it is in good condition and unchanged.

The catch in this thread though is that the panel has been upgraded. As far as I know you can't upgrade the panel and reconnect it to existing K&T.
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Old 10-23-2015, 01:15 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Sanders View Post
Most insurance companies here in Canada will no longer insure a house with K&T, but I believe it's still grandfathered in Canada so long as it is in good condition and unchanged.

The catch in this thread though is that the panel has been upgraded. As far as I know you can't upgrade the panel and reconnect it to existing K&T.
Yes, we have the same problem in the U.S. with insurance companies - mostly due to ignorance and paranoia. Same thing with aluminum branch circuits - just an overall lack of understanding of risk.

I'm not too familiar with the Canadian version of the NEC, but as far as I know, there's nothing in the NEC that prohibits a panel change out and reconnecting in existing K&T branch circuits. It wouldn't make sense, since K&T is still an approved and acceptable wiring method per the NEC.
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