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Old 05-07-2014, 04:17 AM   #1
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taking knob and tube out of an 80 year old attic


First off I do have an electrician on board with this project. Needless to say he is less than thrilled to do it and is dragging his feet to get me a price,

I am thinking "IF" I have most of the grunt work done doing the easy stuff like connecting the system he would do.

Any EASY way to drill and chase the proper wall cavity to run wires to existing switches and ceiling lights???

House has insulation blown in a couple times so thinking a garden rake to make piles of loose insul fill where I dont have to work,,,uncovering where I do have to work??

Also there was a convo of a chase run from basement to attic someplace. Thinking I would try outside end wall where wall insulation blew into attic???

Or a inside partition wall but drilling the top and bottom plate and fishing it thru might be tough.

VERY small house so thinking 3 number 12 wires should do it

Any advice or tips appreciated???
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Old 05-07-2014, 06:30 AM   #2
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I'm not an electrician but I did this on my own house about 20 years ago. Hopefully your electrician doesn't mind the help you are willing to give him because it's usually a two man operation to run the new wiring. A "fish tape" will be your biggest friend on this project. Your "sparky" will have one. For the most part I simply used the same "runs" as the old knob and tube. I used a "chase" from my basement (soil stack area) to run wires up to the attic to wire lights/switches in the upstairs bedrooms. That saved countless hours of time.

Probably the biggest headache is being stuck in the attic with old insulation. Wear a dust mask and old clothes (long sleeve pants and shirts). Another headache can be when you try to run wires and run into studding/framing like firestops, etc. that prevent you from running wires where you need them. You sometimes have to be creative to find proper areas to run the new wiring.

BTW, as you now know, electricians hate this type of work.
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Old 05-07-2014, 07:19 AM   #3
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You don't need your electrician to find, select, and/or make the path between basement and attic to run the wires. Because bathrooms need their own circuits and because the path (raceway; chase), once established, can hold many cables, you might as well run more than the 3 cables you mentioned.

If you prepare the path first, your electrician can give you a more accurate and timely price (not just the top of a ballpark).
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Last edited by AllanJ; 05-07-2014 at 07:22 AM.
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Old 05-07-2014, 01:57 PM   #4
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I just rid my new old house of K&T, and although I am a licensed electrician, 90 % of the work is not "electrical". It is simply getting a new wire where the old wire was/is.

If yours is like mine, most of the wiring was in the attic space. It was easy to see the wire(s) penetrating the wall plate, straight down to the switch or device. However, several runs did take off through the wall cavity. I did not attempt to go sideways, I went below in the basement with careful measurements and drilled up to the receptacle. It’ll make you pucker when you punch through the plate; hoping you measured correctly and didn’t drill a massive hole four inches into the room floor!

Measure three or four times, drill once.

Anyway, I simply drilled next to the insulator through the top plate, same with the fixtures. My ceiling fixtures had no junction boxes at all, so I had to cut the ceilings out to accommodate octagon boxes (which I later installed from the top side with spreader bars). I also gingerly removed the old switch boxes (they have no connectors for the new wire).

A small chain will be your best friend for fishing new NM down the walls. Simply drop the chain down the wall, have the wife tape on the wire, and pull it back up to wherever it needs to go next. I used old work boxes for the new switches and devices, they will slip back into the same, or enlarged hole as needed.

It was very time consuming, with a lot of belly crawling, cussing, head banging, spitting old insulation (hint: wear a mask), and sawdust. Oh, and your clothes will get filthy too (almost 80 years of dust and "other" stuff).

Be patient, be methodical, be smart, and quit when you are about to punch the wall out (or the little woman). Hit it again the next day.


And good luck.
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Old 05-07-2014, 08:45 PM   #5
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thanks for the replies.

Yes my wall receptacles will come from bottom up,,,most of those already do with 'good 'wiring. What is left is 'mostly' ceiling lights and wall switches that run those.

I fully intended to do much of this myself. last Friday I stuck my head inside attic window access for 5 minutes as it was HOT up there late in the day.

Promptly got sick as a dog,,,,somehow thru the decades,,,I am getting pretty old,,,I have become MORE and MORE allergic to mold etc. IF I can smell it cant walk out of house fast enough before getting deathly ill.

When I get this mold sick sinus infect. I HAVE to go to a Dr and get a long and strong prescript to get rid of it. Already done this time and not cheap as insurance pays nothing

That said I tried like heck to hire someone who needed the money and the work to do for me. Obviously they didnt cause wont even call me back

So yes going to don the resperator and try it myself while still on the abx. Problem is I am one man band and dont have any body to help, no wife or so,,,kids all live far away.

Walls were drywalled over plaster and lath 30 years ago,,,dont think there were any switch boxes but memory is fuzzy. Since have used old wok deep boxes wit long screws on the ears to draw tight on plaster but hard even then to get past rough back side.

dont know whether better or worse,,,,house had 9' ceilings also 30 years ago and were lowered down to 8' so double ceilings. think I can knock out a small spot in top ceiling of plaster to reach thru to lower ceiling which has a box I am sure(I did it altho long ago,,,either that or will use an old work box there too,,,but single 1/2 inch drywall to work with.

I saw a fish tape today at store with a flashlite type light on the end,,,expensive but will that work so much better?? Or a cheap 12 buck 25 footer??

Will talk to sparky but sure he is okay with me doing the wire chasing, drilling and dirty part. Just dont know how long of wires connected to where to run? Can he put a junction panel in an attic?

thanks for reading and responding,,,makes me feel better as sick as I am from last look,,,,don the respirator,,,how do you keep respirator from fogging up my glasses??
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Old 05-07-2014, 10:46 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 4just1don View Post
Just dont know how long of wires connected to where to run?
That's generally not a problem. You fish from where you're pulling to to where you're pulling from. Then you attach the new cable to the fish and pull back the other way. You pull cable off of a spool or reel. Once you've got the pull completed, you cut the pulled cable off of the spool and you've got the correct length.

Quote:
Can he put a junction panel in an attic?
No reason you can't. It needs to meet the requirements of any junction box (covered, appropriately sized, etc).

Quote:
how do you keep respirator from fogging up my glasses??
If it's a "dust mask" style respirator (i.e. no canisters), like an N95 respirator, here's a trick I learned when subcontracting with pharmaceutical companies: don't pinch the nose clip. Instead, start from the top of your nose and firmly but slowly squeeze while moving one finger on each side of the nose down. This will tighten the nose clip but will help contour it to your noise and minimize the air leaking out around the top.
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Old 05-07-2014, 11:09 PM   #7
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it is a canister style respirator,,,it seems to leak enough around the nose to fog the glasses
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Old 05-07-2014, 11:10 PM   #8
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Never worn one of those... sorry. Maybe someone else will have a tip.
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