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  1. #1
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    Default Knob and Tubing

    My question involves a consumer law issue in the State of: Connecticut

    In the process of buying a house, and after getting an inspection, we discovered the previous homeowners rewired the knob and tubing partially for the kitchen. In Massachusetts, it's illegal to replace only part of knob and tubing, and if you touch it at all, you have to rewire everything. I'm in Connecticut, and I was wondering if we also had this law, or anything similar. I can't find any laws or regulations about knob and tubing in CT.

  2. #2
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    Oct 2014
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    Default Re: Knob and Tubing

    Quote Quoting Jasmynne
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    My question involves a consumer law issue in the State of: Connecticut

    In the process of buying a house, and after getting an inspection, we discovered the previous homeowners rewired the knob and tubing partially for the kitchen. In Massachusetts, it's illegal to replace only part of knob and tubing, and if you touch it at all, you have to rewire everything. I'm in Connecticut, and I was wondering if we also had this law, or anything similar. I can't find any laws or regulations about knob and tubing in CT.
    Start with the Connecticut state building codes. Your city and/or county might have additional building code rules, too.

  3. #3
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    Sep 2010
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    19,667

    Default Re: Knob and Tubing

    Actually, your understanding of the code even in Massachusetts is incorrect. It's not illegal to replace only part of Knob and Tube (not Tubing). What's illegal is to extend knob and tube with other wiring methods (in most cases). Massachusetts uses the 2020 NEC with only slight modification (none of which references K&T wiring, and pretty much says you can bring part of installations up to the current code). Connecticut uses the 2017 NEC which is pretty much the same in this regard. Note that work only has to correspond to the code in force when it is performed.

    So, what you should do is get a competent electrician to examine the wiring for both legality and condition before you commit to buying it (and certainly before occupying it). I would suspect that if they redid the kitchen they new wires all the way back to the service panel. The code requirements for kitchens changed substantially not only in wiring methods but the numbers and sizes of circuits since K&T was still being installed. As for elsewhere in the house, K&T itself isn't dangerous, but certain things like placing insulation around it or inappropriate connections to it can cause issues.

  4. #4
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    Nov 2015
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    Default Re: Knob and Tubing

    I don't believe the NEC has had an article for knob and tube since 1999, maybe 1996 (my first code book). That said, you don't need to replace wiring systems that were approved at the time of the installation. However, new wiring must conform to the requirements enforced today, which is the 2017 NEC in your case. This doesn't just pertain to extending circuits or repairing them but also to loading and wire sizing and grounding which can be an issue in old systems as there are no provisions for grounding in knob and tube, hence house fires. Also, no proper grounding can cause your power to be of low quality, and noisy, meaning that you may have issues with electronics and have an elevated risk of damage.

    When knob and tube was the wiring method of the day the only things that it powered was lighting and, maybe, a radio, a toaster or iron. Additionally, the wiring is often undersized given the size of fuses used due to sizing being increased by the owner ("Don't worry honey, I'll just replace that 30amp fuse with a 40! It'll be fine!" never mind that the original fuse may have been a 15 or 20 amp) Due to these issues many contractors will not touch knob and tube. Not replacing all of the wiring can be problematic on many fronts such as not knowing, perhaps, what else is connected to that circuit and the liability of touching some of these old systems is not insignificant for a contractor. Additionally, without upgrading the service for the home you may not really gain anything for these smaller upgrades as there is no real way to add circuits.

    There are issues with relying on older wiring systems such as this, the age means that the copper has certainly been subject to fatigue due to heating and cooling cycles and the insulation will have broken down and become friable. This means that you will likely have lower voltage on circuits when they are loaded due to the higher resistance of the degraded copper and that you have an elevated risk of shorting due to the degraded insulation.

    The NEC would never require you to remove an approved (when installed) wiring system, that is outside their purview. That said, many banks won't finance a home with knob and tube and many insurance companies won't cover them. but Connecticut doesn't require you to remove it in its entirety. You should call your insurance agent, though, especially if you're considering having any work performed. If you suffer an electrical fire and it's found to be within the knob and tube or associated with it then they may not cover your home.


    I recognize that this is an expensive undertaking but given how many homes burn down due electrical faults (2nd leading cause of house fires according to the NFPA) with the highest incidence of fire occurring at between the hours of 12AM and 4AM. The total number in 2018 was 363,000 also according to the NFPA.

    If I may make a suggestion, based on my experience as a Master Electrician, I would recommend a service upgrade and then make improvements from there. This will allow the installation of new circuits as well as remove what I presume are old Edison base fuses. This won't be cheap, it's usually the single largest cost for electrical improvements as far as a task line item but it affords the space and capacity to unload old likely overloaded circuits and provides proper protection for existing circuits.
    "Where do those stairs go?"
    "They go up!"

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2018
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    2,336

    Default Re: Knob and Tubing

    Quote Quoting Jasmynne
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    In the process of buying a house, and after getting an inspection, we discovered the previous homeowners rewired the knob and tubing partially for the kitchen.
    What knob? What tubing? In my kitchen, there are probably at least a dozen knobs and at least two completely separate tubes (one for the gas line to the stove/oven and one for the water line to the refrigerator.


    Quote Quoting Jasmynne
    View Post
    In Massachusetts, it's illegal to replace only part of knob and tubing, and if you touch it at all, you have to rewire everything. I'm in Connecticut, and I was wondering if we also had this law, or anything similar.
    Why not ask the inspector or, if you have one, the lawyer representing you in connection with the sale?

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2013
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    6,887

    Default Re: Knob and Tubing

    Quote Quoting pg1067
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    What knob? What tubing? In my kitchen, there are probably at least a dozen knobs and at least two completely separate tubes (one for the gas line to the stove/oven and one for the water line to the refrigerator.
    You must be kidding.

    Knob and tube wiring refers to an old method of running electrical wires through a structure. Knobs and tubes are porcelain connectors that wires run through to keep them insulated from the structure material. A knob attaches the wire to the structural member and a tube runs the wire through the structural member.

    https://www.google.com/search?q=what...w=1463&bih=788

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Knob and Tubing

    I'm sorry Mark47, but you're wrong. The recent codes up to the 2017 which I have in front of me (I haven't ordered the 2020 yet as we haven't adopted it here in NC), most certainly do have an article on Knob and Tube wiring (It's article 394). Are you really an electrician?

  8. #8
    Join Date
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    Default Re: Knob and Tubing

    Quote Quoting flyingron
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    I'm sorry Mark47, but you're wrong. The recent codes up to the 2017 which I have in front of me (I haven't ordered the 2020 yet as we haven't adopted it here in NC), most certainly do have an article on Knob and Tube wiring (It's article 394). Are you really an electrician?
    I most certainly am but being that I steer clear of anything residential and have for the better part of 20 years and stick with heavy industry.

    Even if there is an article addressing knob and tube it doesn't really alter what I said or the correctness of it.
    "Where do those stairs go?"
    "They go up!"

  9. #9
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    Nov 2013
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    Default Re: Knob and Tubing

    Quote Quoting flyingron
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    I'm sorry Mark47, but you're wrong. The recent codes up to the 2017 which I have in front of me (I haven't ordered the 2020 yet as we haven't adopted it here in NC), most certainly do have an article on Knob and Tube wiring (It's article 394). Are you really an electrician?
    Yes it does but that article only addresses insulation over K&T not the use of or connection to or alteration.

    394 Wiring methods and materialsóConcealed knob-and-tube wiring.
    001 Knob-and-tube wiring.

    Article 394 NEC does not prohibit the installation of loose or rolled thermal insulating material in spaces containing existing knob-and-tube wiring provided that all the following conditions are met:

    (1) The wiring must be surveyed by an appropriately licensed electrical contractor who must certify in writing to the department that the wiring is in good condition with no evidence of improper overcurrent protection, conductor insulation failure or deterioration, and with no improper connections or splices. The electrical inspector must inspect all repairs, alterations, or extensions to the electrical system.

    (2) The insulation must meet Class I specifications as identified in the Uniform Building Code, with a flame spread factor of twenty-five or less as tested using ASTM E84-81a. Foam insulation may not be used with knob-and-tube wiring.

    (3) All knob-and-tube circuits must have overcurrent protection in compliance with NEC Table 310.15 (B)(16), 60 degree centigrade, Column C. Overcurrent protection must be either circuit breakers or Type S fuses.
    Mark's post was good advise.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Knob and Tubing

    Quote Quoting budwad
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    Yes it does but that article only addresses insulation over K&T not the use of or connection to or alteration.



    Mark's post was good advise.
    You'd be hard pressed to get an electrical contractor sign his name of knob and tube to certify that it's safe.
    "Where do those stairs go?"
    "They go up!"

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