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Updating knob tube wiring yourself

Knob and tube wiring gets its name from the way it's installed.

There are ceramic tubes for wires that run through any lumber framing and knobs when the wires run along or next to lumber framing.

The wires are spliced and soldered together with older style fibrous electrical tape around the splices.

Knob & tube wiring was installed in houses up until about 1945, although in rural areas until about 1950.

As I stated, knob and tube wiring have a ground wire.

A ground is necessary if you are plugging in appliances that have a third prong in the plug.

However, if the knob and tube wiring is limited to bedrooms, living room, dining room, etc, this is not necessarily a hazard.

Plugging in a two prong lamp, TV, or clock is just as safe as a three prong grounded outlet. If it was installed properly, with the insulation in good condition and not abused with over splicing and connections, it can provide many more years of reliable service.

It is wiring that has been abused that is the potential hazard.

On its own, knob & tube wiring is not inherently a problem.

If the knob & tube wiring is on top of the attic floor, it could be easily nicked or the insulation could be worn off, causing a safety hazard.

If the knob & tube wiring is in a traveled area, even for "just storage", I highly recommend it be protected or replaced.

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