If you live in an older home, it’s likely you’ve heard of or have even seen knob and tube wiring. Knob and tube wiring was the most common method used in homes across Canada from the early 1900’s until the 1940’s. Many homes still have and use knob and tube wiring while the homeowners are unaware. Unless expertly maintained, knob and tube wiring can be dangerous. Read on to better understand knob and tube wiring in Ontario and what it means for your home.
What is Knob and Tube Wiring?
Knob and tube wiring, also called open wiring, is a method of wiring a house with electricity. This outdated method uses porcelain knobs that are connected to wires that are covered with cloth (tubes). As advancements were made in electrical wiring, knob and tube became outdated and was no longer used in homes built after the 1950’s. Being as old as Ontario is, it’s very likely that older homes across the province may still have knob and tube wiring.
If the knob and tube wiring has been expertly maintained or untouched since the original installation, it may be safe to use. This is rarely the case and as such expert electricians recommend homeowners update their wiring. There are a few reasons to update your wiring and safety is a big one. As knob and tube wiring is outdated and the materials can be up to 100 years old. Should there be a power surge or a rogue spark, the cloth covering used on knob and tube wiring could ignite a house fire. If a house fire isn’t bad enough, it’s common for insurance companies to refuse coverage to homes with knob and tube wiring. Make sure you don’t lose your home and everything in it to outdated wiring.
Another disadvantage of open wiring is that it cannot handle the power requirements of our modern-day appliances. There are no ground wires in knob and tube wiring. Ground wires are essential in protecting us from power surges and other faults. Take a look at any modern appliance plug and you will notice three prongs. The third prong is the grounding prong that protects us when plugging in an appliance. Homes with knob and tube wiring can only support two-pronged appliances, making your options very limited. To ensure your home is safe, insurable, and can use modern appliances, it’s best to have your wiring updated.
How to Replace Knob and Tube Wiring
Across Ontario, it is the law that homeowners must only hire a licensed electrical contractor (LEC). Failing to do so can put your home at great risk, especially when it comes to a rewiring project. According to the Electrical Safety Authority (ESA) you must ask an electrician before you hire them to provide you with proof of licensing. For a project like rewiring an entire home, you will want to hire a master electrician. To learn more about how to safely hire a licensed electrician, be sure to read this article.
Tip: Our experts recommend that if you’re already doing a major renovation, such as a bathroom or kitchen, you should do your electrical work at the same time. This is because walls are often torn down and wires are exposed during major renovations. If the wires are already exposed, you will save time on your project by having your electrical work done at the same time.
Having knob and tube wiring in your home is not ideal. While it may seem perfectly safe, it only takes one spark for an electrical fire to start. To ensure the safety of your home, take our experts’ recommendations and have your wiring updated. Using HomeStars you can easily connect with electricians in your area to discuss your project. Get started today so you don’t have to worry about your knob and tube wiring tomorrow.