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.© By: Dave Rongey
Knob and Tube Wiring and Adding a Switch
Electrical Project: How can I replace knob and tube wiring in the basement and add more switches and light fixtures?
Project #1 – Basement Wiring Upgrade
Help with a Knob and Tube Electrical Wiring Project
- When replacing knob and tube wiring in the basement area with grounded circuits the electrician forgot to use 3-way switches.
- My wife and I bought an older home for retirement 2 years ago because suitable rentals are scarce.
- We didn’t understand knob and tube at that time, and we still don’t, but we know now that it needs to be replaced when it is discovered.
- We have had to stop all work till we work this problem out.
Adding a Switch to Knob and Tube Electrical Wiring
- UPSTAIRS ELECTRICAL WIRING
- The upstairs apt is all knob and tube. Unfortunately we just remodeled the apt. last year.
- Painting, carpet, new light fixtures etc, so we are not anxious to rip it apart right now.
- MAIN FLOOR ELECTRICAL WIRING
- We thought our main floor was changed but now we realize only where new walls were put in over the years.
- In our living room along the outside wall there are decor 3 prongs but as we discovered (ungrounded)
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.
- THE ELECTRICAL WIRING PLAN
- We are starting in the basement so we can move forward with the renovations and get our insulation grant approved.
- My plan is to have a fully operational lighting system running in the basement before starting to pull out any knob and tube in the basement and replace lines on the main floor.
- Some of which is intertwined. Note: the fuse that now powers most of the basement lighting also powers the living room and kitchen lighting.
- He successfully put in the new grounded outlets that I desired in the 2X4’s in outside walls when we put up the insulation earlier this year, 2 lines of appropriately 8 outlets each.
- Each line operating on its own fuse in the panel. We tested the outlets and they are working fine.
- THE WIRING PROBLEM
- The electrician forgot to put in wiring for 3 way switches.
- My Grandson put in 2 lines for the lighting.
- One line for Side A, the other line for Side B.
- But he did not know about how to wire for for 3 way 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.
- ELECTRICAL PROJECT REQUIREMENTS
- 3 switches on one string of lights
- 4 switches including one or two sliders on string 2 in addition:
- Rec room requires two switches – one on the stairs and the other beside the attached bedroom with the light in between.
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
- We have a recreation room coming downstairs.
- There are two switches with light in the middle.
- One switch on the stairs, the other switch beside the doorway to a bedroom.
- How does the hot line work on this switch?
- Can one of these be a slider switch?
- Can one string have two sliders on it with other 3 ways switches?
- How many 3 way switches can run in tandem?
- I understand there is a incorrect way to wire this, like accidentally connecting two power source lines to a switch turning it into a 240?
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?
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. This electrical wiring project is best performed by a Licensed Electrical Contractor or Certified 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
- Transitions for knob and tube wiring should be done using junction boxes where insulated wire connectors protect the wiring to be spliced.
- Wire sizes must match or be rated for the original circuit which it is being joined or connected to.
All electrical junction boxes or splice boxes must be accessible. Insulated wire connectors and box or enclosure covers must be used.
- Electrical boxes must be sized according to the number and size of the wires that will occupy the box space.
Project #2 – How to Upgrade Electrical Wiring for Light Fixtures and Switches
- Two 3-way switches can be used to control light fixtures, however any number of 4-way switches may be added between the two 3-way switches as needed as long as the wiring is extended or looped through each additional 4-way switch box.
- All electrical projects including basement upgrade wiring must be done through a permit by the local building department followed by an inspection, as required and permitted either by the homeowner or a licensed electrical contractor.
- Upgrade wiring must be installed according to all local adopted codes, which should include smoke detectors, AFCI circuits, and GFCI protection, as required.
Project #3 – Replacing Old Wiring
The best way to replace old wiring in an older home without removing the drywall
- The process to update old existing wiring with new wiring is usually not an easy task, and will involve looking at the whole home, identify what may have already been replaced, and prioritize the project from there. This is very labor intensive, because the old wiring should be completely replaced. In most cases, opening up drywall to provide complete access for removing the old wiring and installing the new wiring is less expensive than spending a lot of time trying to accomplish the task in any other way. And in most cases, there really is no other way.
See more about Upgrading Home Electrical Wiring
- Wiring Electrical Outlet for the Home
- Home electrical wiring includes 110 volt outlets and 220 volt outlets and receptacles which are common place in every home. See how wiring electrical outlets for the home are done.
How to Wire a Light Switch
Wiring a Light Switch – Diagram 1
- House Wiring Circuits and Circuit Breakers
- This article looks at common 120 volt and 240 volt house wiring circuits and the circuit breakers that are installed identifying the types and amperage sizes used in most homes.
- Electric Circuit Listing
- The size of the home electrical service panel is designed by calculating the square footage of the home and factoring in the code requirements for the electrical circuits that are required.
- Electrical Wire for the Home
- Complete listing of electrical wire types and parts used for home projects with electrical code information serves as selection guidelines.
- Basement Electrical Wiring
- Fully Explained Photos and Wiring Diagrams for Basement Electrical Wiring with Code Requirements for most new or remodel projects.
The following may also be helpful for you:
Be Careful and Be Safe - Never Work on Energized Circuits!
Consult your Local Building Department about Permits and Inspections for all Electric Wiring Projects.
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