Knob & Tube Electrical Wiring 101: What Is It & Is It Safe?

Many people come to our Lafayette, New Iberia, and Abbeville electricians with questions about knob and tube electrical wiring. They want to know if they should purchase a home that still has knob and tube. They want to know if it is likely to cause an electrical fire or other problems. They want to know if they should upgrade the electrical wiring in their homes. At Pipes & Plugs, we believe that knowledge is power, and that’s why we want to share with you the facts about knob and tube electrical wiring. 

What is Knob & Tube (K&T) Electrical Wiring?

  • It was the standard method of wiring from about the 1880s to the 1940s.
  • Presently, it is considered obsolete and is not used in new construction.
  • Ceramic tubes are used to shield wires as they pass through wall studs and floor joists.
  • Ceramic knobs hold the wires in place.
  • There are two wires: a black (hot) wire and a white (neutral) wire.
  • Only two-pronged appliances can be powered unless ground fault circuit interrupters (GFCIs) are installed.

Is Knob & Tube Wiring Safe?

-Many knob and tube electrical systems have suffered damages over the years that make them dangerous. Hazards arise from:

  • Thermal insulation that has been placed over wires.
  • Wire insulation that has been damaged by intruding animals.
  • Degraded rubber insulation.
  • Unsafe modifications.
  • Damage to insulation from heat.

-Knob and tube electrical systems are also considered less safe than modern systems because they do not have a grounding conductor, thereby increasing the risk of electrical fires.

Deciding whether or not to upgrade electrical wiring can be a difficult decision for homeowners. We believe that the safety of our customers is the most important thing. For help determining if an electrical upgrade is necessary at your home in Abbeville, Lafayette, New Iberia, or the surrounding areas, give the electricians at Pipes and Plugs a call today!