row of houses

Knob and Tube Wiring

If you own an older home, or plan to buy one, you may know about knob and tube wiring. This is a wiring method used in homes in the early 1900s to 1940s that is no longer used.

It may surprise you that many insurers will not provide or renew coverage on homes with this type of wiring, which they consider a higher risk. You may even have to replace the knob and tube wiring before you can get insurance coverage.

Also, older electrical systems do not have the same safety benefits of modern ones. For example, ground fault circuit interrupters make bathrooms and outdoor locations safer.

If your home has knob and tube wiring, the Electrical Safety Authority recommends hiring a Licensed Electrical Contractor. Have the contractor check the knob and tube conductors for signs of deterioration or damage.

Ask your Licensed Electrical Contractor to do an assessment of your home’s electrical system. This is different than a home inspection because it just focuses on the electrical. The inspection or contractor may recommend replacing the wiring to ensure your safety.

Myths and facts about knob and tube wiring

Myth: Knob and tube wiring is unsafe.

Fact: Knob and tube wiring is safe, if properly maintained by a Licensed Electrical Contractor.

Myth: The Ontario Electrical Safety Code no longer recognizes knob and tube wiring as an acceptable wiring method, so you must replace it.

Fact: ESA and the Ontario Electrical Safety Code recognize knob and tube wiring methods. However, you must follow the Ontario Electrical Safety Code to ensure electrical safety. Rules 12-200 to 12-224 set out the safety standards for installing this type of wiring. See more details of safe and unsafe practices related to knob and tube wiring.