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Electrical Wire and Cable

Upgrading Knob and Tube Electrical Wiring

How can I replace knob and tube wiring? The Most Common Methods for Upgrading Knob and Tube Electrical Wiring, How to Upgrade Electrical Wiring for Light Fixtures and Switches.

Knob and Tube Wiring and Adding a Switch
Electrical Question: How can I replace knob and tube wiring in the basement and adding switches.

Project #1 – Basement Wiring Upgrade

Help with a Knob and Tube Electrical Wiring Project

Adding a Switch to Knob and Tube Electrical Wiring

We have two separate electrical systems (two meters and two panels) 1 in the upstairs apartment and the other in basement for the main floor.

Electrical Problems and Upgrade Wiring Challenges
We are insulating and remodeling our basement. The wiring is a mixture of knob and tube and grounded wire as new lines were added. About half our main floor outlets and probably all our lights and fans are not grounded. My grandson helped his dad put in the electricity when they rebuilt their house and said he knew how to put in new lights and switches.

I divided the basement into 2 sections along the main beam. Each having 3 separate rooms needing its own switch. Side A is closest to the electrical panel.

How do we wire to 3 way switches in tandem?
I understand the best way to fix this would be to run the hot wire ( power source) to the switches first , in tandem for 3 switches? Then run a line from each switch to the string of lights.

Does this sound correct?

Project #2 – Downstairs Recreation Room

Any help you can provide would be greatly appreciated.

This electrical question came from: John, a Homeowner from Ontario, Canada.
Additional Comments: Looks like I am going to make this site my second home!

Project #3 – Replacing Old Wiring
Don in Baldwin, Michigan asks:
What is the best way to replace old wiring in an older home without removing the drywall?

Dave’s Reply:
Thank You for these electrical wiring questions.

Knob and Tube Wiring Upgrade Project

Application: Upgrading Basement and Recreation Room Electrical Wiring.
Skill Level: Intermediate to Advanced – Best installed by a Licensed Electrician.
Tools Required: Electricians Pouch of Hand Tools for Rough-In Wiring, Electric Drill and Auger Bits and Extension Cord.
Estimated Time: Depends on the extent of the bathroom remodel project, the type of construction and available access to the project area.
Precaution: Any existing wiring in the immediate area that may interfere with the installation of new construction materials should be identified, turned OFF and Tagged.
Notice: Modifying existing wiring or installing additional bathroom electrical wiring should be done according to local and national electrical codes with a permit and be inspected.

Basement and Recreation Room Electrical Wiring Upgrade

Upgrading Knob and Tube Electrical Wiring

Project #1 – Upgrading Basement Electrical Wiring

Project #2 – How to Upgrade Electrical Wiring for Light Fixtures and Switches

Project #3 – Replacing Old Wiring

The best way to replace old wiring in an older home without removing the drywall

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Wire It Right with the help of my Illustrated Wiring Book

Great for any Home Wiring Project.

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Complete Guide to Home Electrical Wiring

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Consult your Local Building Department about Permits and Inspections for all Electric Wiring Projects.

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The Safest Way to Test Electrical Devices and Identify Electric Wires!

The Non-Contact Electrical Tester
This is a testing tool that I have had in my personal electrical tool pouch for years, and is the first test tool I grab to help identify electrical wiring. It is a Non-contact tester that I use to easily Detect Voltage in Cables, Cords, Circuit Breakers, Lighting Fixtures, Switches, Outlets and Wires. Simply insert the end of the tester into an outlet, lamp socket, or hold the end of the tester against the wire you wish to test. Very handy and easy to use.

The Quickest Way to Check for Faulty Electrical Wiring!

The Plug-In Outlet Tester
This is the first tool I grab to troubleshoot a problem with outlet circuit wiring. This popular tester is also used by most inspectors to test for power and check the polarity of circuit wiring.
It detects probable improper wiring conditions in standard 110-125 VAC outlets Provides 6 probable wiring conditions that are quick and easy to read for ultimate efficiency Lights indicate if wiring is correct and indicator light chart is included Tests standard 3-wire outlets UL Listed Light indicates if wiring is incorrect Very handy and easy to use.

Strip Off Wire Insulation without Nicking and Damaging the Electric Wire!

The Wire Stripper and Wire Cutter
My absolute favorite wire stripping tool that I have had in my personal electrical tool pouch for years, and this is the tool I use to safely strip electrical wires.
This handy tool has multiple uses:
The wire gauges are shown on the side of the tool so you know which slot to use for stripping insulation.
The end of the tool can be used to grip and bend wire which is handy for attaching wire onto the screw terminals of switches and outlets..

The wire stripper will work on both solid and stranded wire. This tool is Very Handy and Easy to Use.

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FAQs Frequently Asked Questions and Comments

6 Responses to “Upgrading Knob and Tube Electrical Wiring”
  1. Andrew says:

    I would like to insulate our attic of our 1926 home, but do not want the insulation to cover our knob and tube wiring. Other than rewiring, can I build a cover for the knob and tube wiring and insulate over the covering? If yes, what material would best suit covering the knob and tube? Thanks.

    • Dave Rongey says:

      Hi Andrew,
      I would strongly suggest that the outdated knob and tube wiring be replaced, at least in the area that will be insulated. The effort to replace the old wiring would be best, compared to the time, materials and effort to build a covering.
      Be Safe,

  2. Roger Riney says:

    What is knob and tube wiring and how do I identify it?

    • Dave Rongey says:

      Hi Roger,
      Knob and tube wiring is found in older homes which were built before the 60s. The knob and tube method consisted of installing single insulated wires which would be part of the electrical circuitry. Porcelain tubes were installed through wood framing and combustible materials to provide heat resistant protection against the electrical wire which was then installed through the tube. The knobs were made up of two or more porcelain insulator discs which had notches for the circuit wiring. The knobs were fastened into wood framing by a nail which passed through the center of the porcelain discs. As the knobs are nailed securely into place the wiring is pulled snug and tight to prevent sagging, and to prevent the wiring from coming into contact with combustible materials. Knobs were required every 4.5 feet.
      I hope this helps you identify knob and tube wiring.

  3. jason says:

    Hey Dave, I have a easy question for you. I am an apprentice and have worked on a few projects with a few different foreman in my short career so far. Is a receptacle (120v-10 or 15a) required to be grounded to the box per code or suffice to just ground the box with the rest of the grounded system and not the recepticle.? I’ve had guys have me do it both ways in the past.

    • Dave Rongey says:

      Hi Jason,
      The methods for grounding a receptacle depends on a few things, such as the type of box and the receptacle. If the box is non-metallic then the ground wire attaches to the receptacle. If the box is metal then the box is grounded but the receptacle does not need to have a ground wire attached to it IF the the yoke or the mounting of the receptacle to the box does not include an insulated washer.
      Even though this practice is accepted by code I still prefer to bond the ground to the box and then continue the ground wire to the receptacle. This ensures the ground is bonded especially if the cover becomes loose.
      Enjoy your apprenticeship!


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