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 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
National Electrical Codes for Homes
- 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
Electric Panels and Circuit Breakers
- 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.
How to Install Basement Electrical Wiring
- 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.
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.
|More articles about Electrical Wiring, Knob and Tube Wiring and Home Electrical Wiring:|
|« Previous||Next »|
|Knob and Tube Wiring and GFCI Video||How to Ground Electric Outlets|
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.
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!
What is knob and tube wiring and how do I identify it?
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.
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.
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.