Since January 2003 the Electrical Safety Authority has received an increasing number of questions about the safety of knob and tube wiring. In particular, purchasers or owners of older homes are finding that many insurers will not provide or renew coverage on such properties. In some cases, the insurance companies are requiring a total replacement of this wiring prior to providing insurance coverage. Some insurance companies request that all visible knob and tube wiring be removed, usually within 30 – 90 days of occupancy.
Knob and tube wiring, more recently referred to as open wiring, was a wiring method used in the early 1900s to 1940s in the residential sector. Over the years wiring installation practices have changed in the residential sector and knob and tube wiring is no longer installed; however, parts continue to be available for maintenance purposes.
Homes with knob and tube wiring may not have the electrical capacity to meet today’s needs. As a result, homeowners have modified their electrical system with what the Electrical Safety Authority classifies as unsafe practices.
A home inspector will be able to determine how much exists in the home. It is advisable to have an electrician give you a quote as well as have an insurance company view the property, prior to purchase. Your real estate agent will be able to coordinate this prior to firming up an offer.