Knob And Tube Wiring

Upgrade Your Knob And Tube Wiring To Increase Your Property Value

It is a familiar story in the GTA: after weeks, months, or sometimes even years of searching, people find the older home of their dreams — one with character, elegance and nostalgic charm that stands apart from many of today’s newer properties that are functional, but not necessarily distinguished or custom-crafted.

If you are among those who are seeking — or who have found — your older dream home, then before you celebrate the end of your search, ensure safety of your dream home by: upgrading the knob and tube wiring.

Understanding Knob and Tube Wiring

Widely used in homes from the 1880s to the 1950s, knob and tube wiring refers to a method in which single wires are wrapped in a cloth sheath. The drawback here is the wires were not grounded and insulated but suspended in the air behind walls and inside attics, which was very risky.

Let’s take a closer look at the features of knob and tube wiring that pose concerns today:

  • No ground wire: A system that isn’t grounded can cause shock hazards.
  • Temperature ratings: Knob and tube wiring was invented prior to temperature rating tests.
  • “Free air” wiring system: Installing insulation over “free air” wiring is prone to fire hazards.
  • Age: The covering on the wires can become brittle over time, resulting in unsafe, exposed wires.

As a result of these limitations, many insurance companies will not issue policies to homeowners with knob and tube wiring. Licensed electrical contractors in Ontario unanimously agree that this wiring method is inefficient and poses a significant and pressing safety risk.

Why Knob and Tube Wiring is Dangerous

To put it simply, knob and tube is a wiring system that’s not well-suited for today’s modern homes. In the 1950s, the wiring was discontinued from being installed and many electrical wiring techniques have progressed since that time. For example, knob and tube now features only two-pronged outlets, rather than three prong.

As noted, the absence of ground wire, temperature ratings, and insulation poses safety risks for your home and family. You’ll want to be mindful of any improper alterations that may have taken place before you found your dream home. With knob and tube being an older wiring system, it can often be challenging to find parts. Unfortunately, this may lead to improper alterations, DIY fixes, or unauthorized individuals attempting to work on the wiring system.

Importance of Upgrading Knob and Tube Wiring

The good news is that upgrading your knob and tube wiring is possible and certainly advisable. It increases the value of your home and also makes it much easier to sell if you wish to list it and help make someone else’s dream come true!

If you choose not to upgrade, the outdated features and safety concerns of knob and tube wiring could deter potential buyers. You may find that your home stays on the market longer and its resale value decreases if you’re unable to receive competitive offers.

In addition to improving your resale value, modern alternatives to knob and tube will provide reassurance that your home is running on a newer, safer wiring system.  Discover benefits of upgrading to a modern electrical system:

  • A modern system will be grounded. If an electrical surge or shock passes through, it will bring that to the ground rather than causing damage to any appliances connected to it.
  • Modern electrical systems are safer than outdated systems, even with frequent use. They are designed with cutting-edge, fire-safe materials targeted for high-temperature variants.
  • If you’re planning to move into your dream home, you likely have other home improvement projects in mind. A rewiring project will be an ideal addition to your to-do list; installing more lighting, outlets, and additional features will ensure your electrical system meets your household needs.

Knob and Tube Replacement Cost

Some contractors — including those who are unlicensed and therefore working illegally — may advise you to save money by adapting the existing knob and tube wiring to GFCI protected circuits. What they’re suggesting is making a three-prong outlet legal on two-conductor wiring, but still utilizing the old wiring. This is NOT good advice! Most insurance companies will not accept this, and you will not receive any warranty on compliance. You will lose money and time, and this will not address your safety concerns.

As knob and tube wiring runs throughout your home, it’s no secret that replacing it will be a big investment. A realistic budget can range from $5,000 to $15,000 with some variations depending on:

  • The size of your home
  • How much wiring needs to be replaced
  • How many holes will be required to fish wires

It cannot be stressed enough that this work must be completed by licensed professionals. They will ensure all the work is completed properly and to code. When your home and family’s safety is at stake, you simply don’t want to trust anyone else to make modifications and upgrades to your electrical system.

Knob and Tube Wiring Replacement Methods

Updated, safer alternatives for knob and tube wiring are available. While outdated wiring may be acceptable in some scenarios, our team at Langstaff & Sloan Electrical Contractors believes it’s in your best interest to invest in modern alternatives. You can put your trust in our experienced team whose speciality has been knob and tube wiring removal since 1996.

We’ll walk you through your options and discuss all the details associated with the project, including:

  • The types of modern wiring alternatives that are available
  • What to expect during installation
  • Our ownership in patching the holes that are made during the rewiring
  • Upgrading your electrical panel to increase capacity and efficiency

Is Knob and Tube Wiring Safe?

As you’ve read, there are several safety concerns and risks with knob and tube wiring in modern homes. Your best bet is to invest in modern alternatives and be wary of contractors who suggest you can save money by adapting the existing knob and tube wiring to GFCI protected circuits.

In addition, while you may be able to find an insurance company that will insure your home with knob and tube, this often comes with high premiums. Instead, you’re more likely to find that insurance companies will refuse to insure your home due to the risks associated with outdated wiring.

Learn more by reading this helpful article that separates fact from fiction with knob and tube wiring.

Cloth Wiring vs. Knob and Tube

Like knob and tube, cloth-covered electrical wires are an outdated type of wiring that was used from the 1940s to early 1960s. They were replaced in the mid-1960s with plastic-coated wiring that was more modern and safer. Cloth wiring also poses concerns due to factors like temperature rating and not containing a bonding conductor.

If you want to learn more about the risks associated with cloth wiring and the impact on home sales, review this additional information.

Knob and Tube Wiring: Costs and Considerations

As mentioned earlier, several factors will contribute to the wiring project cost. If you’re also planning to take advantage of the rewiring project to add additional lighting, outlets, or other electrical upgrades to your home, these will impact your project cost too. However, when you select Langstaff & Sloan, we’ll work with you to develop an ideal plan for updating your home’s electrical system, which can include:

  • Upgrading to a minimum of 100-amp capacity, which is required by most insurance companies
  • Installing three-pronged outlets and grounding wires
  • Replacing ungrounded switches with approved alternatives
  • Replacing outdated wiring with safe, modern, compliant wiring

Connect with us to discuss the full details of your rewiring project, including the necessary permits and regulatory compliance for electrical system upgrades. We’re happy to provide a written, detailed quote that itemizes all costs for your consideration. You can rely on our knowledgeable team to guide you in making the best electrical decisions for your home.

Upgrade Your Knob And Tube Wiring By Calling Langstaff & Sloan

To learn more about upgrading your knob and tube wiring to increase the property value of your dream home, contact Langstaff & Sloan today at 647.492.8193. Discover why we are one of the most trusted and respected electrical contractors in Ontario.

FAQs About Knob and Tube Wiring

How dangerous is knob and tube wiring?

Knob and tube wiring is an outdated wiring system that poses several safety concerns. If you’re wondering, “Why is knob and tube wiring dangerous?” — it’s due to the age of the system, absence of ground wire, insulation being installed over a “free air” wiring system, a risk of improper alterations, and being invented prior to temperature rating tests.

What are the risks associated with knob and tube wiring?

Is knob and tube wiring safe? Homeowners should be aware of several risks associated with knob and tube wiring, such as:

  • Damage or injury due to it being an ungrounded system.
  • Fire due to old, deteriorated, and/or cracked wiring.
  • Fire if insulation is installed over the “free air” wiring system.
  • Improper, unsafe alterations by non-licensed, unskilled professionals.

Can knob and tube wiring be replaced without damaging the walls?

Some homes may require holes to fish wires during knob and tube upgrades. The good news is that when you select the professional team at Langstaff & Sloan, we take ownership of this project, and you can count on us to patch up any holes created as part of the wiring upgrade.

What is the average cost to replace knob and tube wiring in a typical home?

Replacing knob and tube wiring generally costs between $5,000 to $15,000. Factors like the size of your home, the amount of wiring to be replaced, and holes for fishing wires will all contribute to the cost. We’re happy to provide a written, detailed quote that itemizes all the knob and tube replacement costs for your wiring upgrade.

Is knob and tube wiring legal to use in homes?

Building codes in Ontario and other areas prohibit installation of knob and tube wiring in new construction projects. This is due to the safety risks posed by the outdated system. It’s important to consult with your local electricians to assess the legality of knob and tube wiring in your area.

Are there insurance implications associated with knob and tube wiring?

It may be possible to find insurance companies that will insure your home with knob and tube wiring, but they may ask you to pay high premiums. You will likely encounter insurance companies that refuse to insure your home due to the risks associated with knob and tube wiring.

What is the knob and tube wiring method, and how to identify that in our homes?

The knob and tube wiring system features supports in the form of thick, white knobs and tubes made of ceramic or porcelain. The tubes surround the wires where they pass through wood, and the knobs are usually mounted onto the wood. To identify the wiring system, you can check your attic or unfished parts of your basement.

What steps can homeowners take to upgrade knob and tube wiring while staying within a budget?

You can connect with us at Langstaff & Sloan to discuss the details of your knob and tube wiring upgrade and replacement cost. Several factors specify the cost of each rewiring project. We’re happy to discuss these with you and provide a written, detailed quote that itemizes all costs

Are there any government rebates or incentives for replacing knob and tube wiring?

It’s best to connect with us at Langstaff & Sloan to discuss any applicable rebates or incentives. Knob and tube wiring removal has been our specialty since 1996, and we’re happy to share our expertise and insights with you on the knob and tube wiring replacement cost, as well as any applicable rebates or incentives.

How long does it take to complete a knob and tube wiring replacement project?

The length of each replacement project varies. You can rely on our skilled electricians to complete the work efficiently. We will take ownership to patch all the holes required to fish wires as part of the project. Contact us to request a quote on the upgrade cost and the anticipated timeline for your project.