Saturday, September 18, 2010

Knob & Tube

Lest you think all I did all summer was play with Lego (almost the truth) here's how I really spent it.  From dawn till dusk, for 3 weeks, in a hot attic, wearing a respirator, wading through rock-wool insulation to remove hundreds of feet of old-style knob and tube wiring.

The goal was to remove the K&T so that we could add a lot more insulation  into the attic.

Our knob and tube looked something like this, except buried in  6"  of nasty, rock-wool insulation..
 I originally planned one week expecting no more than two max.  Three weeks later I had run over 600 feet of new wiring, installed 7 ceiling light junction boxes (when we took the fixure down we found no junction boxes at all, just two wires sticking out of the ceiling) and reinstalled a dozen receptacles and switches.

Although the house had been upgraded to brekers in the 1970s, they had retained the old fuse panel to run the knob and tube.  This panel was completely removed.

This original panel was 30 amp capacity for the whole house.  Today 200 amp is the norm. 

At the same time we rewired the garage which had been supplied by a Rube Goldberg system that made the connection to the house in 1/2" indoor -rated conduit running overhead between the buildings.

Inside the garage a vintage fuse box led to an udersized junction box.
The garage got 100 amp, underground service with a real breaker panel.

A real breaker panel for the garage.
We did this all with permits, and throughout the inspectors were cordial and knowledgeable.  I wouldn't attempt anything like this without permits.  Some insurance companies won't insure you if you have ever had knob and tube.  But others' will if it has been removed properly.

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