It is a familiar story in the GTA. After weeks, months, or sometimes even years of searching, people finally find the older home of their dreams. One with character, elegance and nostalgic charm. A home that stands apart from many of today’s newer properties that are functional, but not necessarily distinguished. Have you found your older dream home? Ensure that it doesn’t turn into a costly and potentially dangerous nightmare. Upgrade the knob and tube wiring..
Knob and Tube Wiring
Widely used in homes from about the 1880s to the 1950s, knob and tube wiring refers to a method in which single wires that are wrapped in a cloth sheath. The problem with this approach is that there is no ground wire, it pre-dates wiring temperature ratings, and it is a “free air” system. This means the wires are suspended in the air behind walls and in attics which are likely now insulated.
As a result of these limitations, many insurance companies will not issue policies to homeowners with knob and tube wiring. What’s more, licensed electrical contractors in Ontario unanimously agree that this wiring method is not just inefficient, but that it also poses a significant and pressing safety risk.
The good news is that upgrading your knob and tube wiring is definitely possible and certainly advisable. In addition to increasing the value of your home, will make it much easier to sell down the road if you wish to list it and help make someone else’s dream come true!
A Word Of Warning
Some contractors — including those who are unlicensed and therefore working illegally — may advise you to save money by adapting the existing knob and tube wiring to GFCI protected circuits. This is NOT good advice! Most insurance companies will not accept this. Also, you will not receive any warranty on compliance. You will lose money and time, and this will not address all of the safety risks.
Langstaff & Sloan Inc. has been providing professional electrical contracting services in the GTA since 1991.
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