Curious about your home’s wiring in PA? If you live in a home built before 1950, your electrical system may run on knob-and-tube wiring. When that’s the case, you’ll want to know how it works and if it’s safe to have in your home.
Call Haller 717-625-1500 today to book an appointment with an electrician to inspect your home’s electrical system.
What Is Knob-and-Tube Wiring?
Knob-and-tube wiring, while no longer permitted for use in new construction, is common in older homes. Unlike modern wiring, knob-and-tube wiring lacks a ground wire, meaning it can’t power electrical devices with three-pronged plugs. This wiring can increase the risk of electrical shock.
The hot and neutral wires in knob-and-tube wiring run separately. In contrast, modern wiring usually keeps wires together with a single cable to make them more easily accessible for inspection, repair, troubleshooting, or modification.
Regarding insulation, knob-and-tube wiring uses rubber, whereas modern wiring uses plastic. Knob-and-tube wiring releases heat––this can be a hefty hazard when it’s in contact with flammable materials like insulation.
How To Identify Knob-and-Tube Wiring
If you suspect your home in Pennsylvania has knob-and-tube wiring, you can likely find it in your attic or basement. This wiring consists of ceramic, spool-like knobs and tubes to support and protect the wires. The wiring itself is often attached to joists or wooden framing.
If you don’t see any knob-and-tube wiring in these areas of your home, it may be hiding behind your walls––also known as spider-webbing. This placement makes it difficult to access the wires.
Once you’ve identified knob-and-tube wiring in your home, call one of our certified electricians to determine whether or not it is live. If it is live, it’s best to replace it so you can properly insulate your wires and protect your home.
Is Knob-and-Tube Wiring Safe?
While you can still use knob-and-tube wiring in your home, it may be in your best interest to replace it. Homes in PA implemented knob-and-tube wiring when many appliances or systems like microwaves, dishwashers, and air conditioners were not in use. Because of this, knob-and-tube wiring carries a much lighter electrical load.
Now, most modern-day homes utilize these appliances all at once, so there’s a higher risk of overheating the wires. This wiring increases the possibility of electrical and fire hazards.
Knob-and-tube wiring hazards
Here are a few of the hurdles associated with knob-tube wiring:
- Insulation damage: Over time, the rubber insulation that covers knob-and-tube wiring will wear out, leaving the wires underneath exposed. If the wires are live and exposed, the heat they generate in the electrical current poses a significant fire hazard around the insulation.
- Missing ground wire: Without an electrical ground wire, your appliances and home are at a higher risk of electrical fires.
- Improper connections: While most knob-and-tube wiring is accessible, it’s best to avoid altering the wires yourself if you’re looking to expand the system. If you tape or solder any additions without junction boxes, you may compromise your home’s electrical safety.
- Obtaining homeowner insurance: Since knob-and-tube wiring can be dangerous, homeowner insurance companies may charge you higher premiums, require a professional to inspect your system, or require you to remove it altogether.
While knob-and-tube wiring can work in your home in PA, the points listed above are what encourage many homeowners to upgrade their electrical systems.
What To Do About Your Knob-and-Tube Wiring in Your PA Home?
Since knob-and-tube wiring uses rubber insulation, lacks an electrical grounding wire, and may struggle to keep up with today’s power usage, your best option is to replace it. Doing so will keep your home safe and can save you money on home insurance.
How much does it cost to replace it?
Replacing knob-and-tube wiring can come at quite the cost, depending on the size of your home and the scope of the project. If you’d like to rewire your house, the cost usually starts at $5,000 and increases based on how large your home is. While this job may burn your wallet, it’ll protect your home from burning wires.
Haller can provide you the scope and a free estimate of the project to replace your PA home’s knob-and-tube wiring.
Count on Haller to Handle Your Wiring in PA
Weary about your home’s wiring? Our licensed electricians are here to ensure your home’s electrical system is safe and reliable. Whether you need help identifying or replacing your home’s knob-and-tube wiring, Haller offers excellent electrical services in Central and Eastern PA to keep your older home feeling safer than ever.