Announcement

Announcement Module
Collapse
No announcement yet.

Romex Type NM to Knob and Tube ??

Page Title Module
Move Remove Collapse
X
Conversation Detail Module
Collapse
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Romex Type NM to Knob and Tube ??

    Okay, I've got this house that was built in 1900. Several years ago we had new siding put on and I changed the attached garage over to a family room. That change required a new electrical service and we put in a 150 amp load panel at that time. I wired the new circuits to the family room, kitchen, and most of the first floor, which I could access from the basement. But the second floor was left alone. Everything passed inspection fine.

    The old electrical service was a 60 amp fuse box, with one 15 amp circuit feeding the three upstairs bedrooms and the bathroom. A year or so ago we had the 2nd floor bathroom redone (plumbing is NOT my thing) and at the time, the contractor ran new wiring to the bathroom on a new circuit. While they were doing that, I had them run three new 12-NM wires up to the attic/crawlspace area, with the idea that I would eventually put each of the bedrooms on it's own 15 amp circuit.

    Well, the time has come... but now I'm challenged! The attic is unfinished, with access through a liftout panel... no stairs of permanent ladder. As such, my understanding it that existing "knob & tube" is okay. My vision was to identify what was there, and then to divide off the rooms and install all new NM cable, receptacles, etc.

    Well, I can now see it isn't going to be that easy. While one knob & tube comes up and is easily located, it then goes off here and there and also goes down into the walls where it feeds the outlets. Only one bedroom has a ceiling light and that of course is easily located. But, where there are certain outlets, there is no wiring in that area, directly above where there should be... and I suspect that the original wiring may be through the walls, horizontally in some manner.... and that's NOT what I want to get into.

    So, the immediate question is how does one connect into the existing knob and tube circuit from a new NM cable? Do I bring the two K/T wires into a new box and connect the conventional way to the new cable; or, do I go to a box with a new cable and then bring individual "new" single conductors out and solder connect (or how/what) and insulate to the knob and tube?

    The NEC (article 324) that I have is not at all clear (to me anyway) as to the mechanics of this.

    While I can identify and divide the circuits for each room, I really don't want to get into snaking new NM cable and replacing each and every receptacle and wall switch and perhaps even boxes... that would of course turn "wiring" into a lot of drilling and replastering I think, well beyond the time frame and scope of what I am hoping is not an absolute requirement for updating the circuit capacity. (Going from one 15 amp circuit for three bedrooms to having each bedroom on it's own 15 amp circuit.)

    Your help and opinions are greatly appreciated,

    CWS
    Last edited by CWSmith; 07-01-2010, 02:24 PM.

  • #2
    Re: Romex Type NM to Knob and Tube ??

    While I can identify and divide the circuits for each room, I really don't want to get into snaking new NM cable and replacing each and every receptacle and wall switch and perhaps even boxes... that would of course turn "wiring" into a lot of drilling and replastering I think, well beyond the time frame and scope of what I am hoping is not an absolute requirement for updating the circuit capacity. (Going from one 15 amp circuit for three bedrooms to having each bedroom on it's own 15 amp circuit.)
    You sir, are not going to have much of a choice in THAT matter, if you ever hope (a) to have bedroom outlets with PROPER grounding. Especially if (b) the inspector demands those bedrooms to be on arc-fault breakers, something that becomes important if you want to sell the house eventually. I doubt if you have to change the boxes though.

    There are tools available to assist with fishing wires though. Greenlee makes these fiberglass fishing sticks that glow in the dark. They come with a "bullet" attachment to hang a loop of nylon string with. Trust me, that loop is a must. Also, I have a 1/8th by one foot long pilot bit, I usually use to pop through a ceiling to mark where along a wall an outlet is, so I know where to drill down. Plus I have a five foot 5/8th flexible auger bit to drill down a wall in the event of a block, though it's rare for interior walls. And finally, I like to drill two holes, if there is a blocker, up in the attic, one for the flex bit, and the other for my Seesnake to help me guild the auger down through the middle of the blocker, to ensure I don't poke a hole through the plaster.

    Although my "Letter to Santa" is to get a Milwalkee "super-stud finder" but it runs for around $350 dollars.

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: Romex Type NM to Knob and Tube ??

      Let me just second tailgunner's post. Even a non-pro can learn to fish wire with the right tools and some practice.

      With a 25' steel fish tape, a pack of fish stix, some mason's line (or the real pull string), auger bit, and a bell hanger's bit, you should be able to get from the attic to each box.

      I think the biggest thing that is going to be problematic is you'll need to cut power to the whole shebang, and then rewire one room at a time, since you won't know what else your cutting as you do the first room; and how that was wired.

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Romex Type NM to Knob and Tube ??

        Thanks guys,

        I was hoping I wouldn't have to get into this, but after reading your posts, I did a bit more research and definitely need to replace this... I just hate fishing wires!!! But, it is obvious that it needs to be done.

        I've rewired the first floor already and the only K&T is in the attic crawl space and for those circuits I need to replace on the second floor. I already have the wire run up from the basement load center.

        So thanks again,

        CWS

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: Romex Type NM to Knob and Tube ??

          I was in a house a last year just visiting the people, and giving them some suggestions on the fix up of the place,

          and at some time in the past some one wired or rewired, and to solve the fishing problems, they just stapled the romex to the wall on the surface, and up to the ceiling and across the ceiling, and used the Bakelite switches, and outlets, (yes I know it never met code) but was really kinda of funny, in a way. It only has been that way since the 40's early 50's.

          the bed rooms never had any power in them, just the kitchen and dinning room and living room, and the entry porch,

          the thing was the attic was very easily accessible and open (no floor) and I doubt if there was blocking, so all one had to do is drill the hole and drop it in the wall and pull out and put in a remodel box, and there was knob and tube that had been ran but never used, so one could see where the walls were and where to drill and fish the wire, just seemed very strange,

          note: the old knob and tube box in the dinning room wall, they never even put a cover on it, in the one picture, the second picture with the ceiling repair, one can see the wiring better in the kitchen.



          I know this is off topic, but the hot water heater, is even more scary, it never had a flue hooked up to it, see picture, there is no place for even a flue to hook into and this is in the basement of the home, I am sure this is how it was used, as there is no place that a flue could have hooked into.

          (this is more of a post on how not to do it).
          Attached Files
          Push sticks/blocks Save Fingers
          ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
          "The true measure of a man is how he treats someone who can do him absolutely no good."
          attributed to Samuel Johnson
          ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
          PUBLIC NOTICE: Due to recent budget cuts, the rising cost of electricity, gas, and oil...plus the current state of the economy............the light at the end of the tunnel, has been turned off.

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: Romex Type NM to Knob and Tube ??

            It's amazing what people will "live" in. Sometimes it seems we have barely evolved from dwelling in a cave.

            On my particular challenge, I was looking to upgrade the feed line and get rid of the old fuse box that still feeds the second floor area. My understanding was that one didn't need to upgrade all the existing wiring, unless it was clearly dangerous and did not meet the codes at the time of the original installation.

            I'm still a bit "mixed" on this. What is there is in good condition and other than "feed" it, if I start ripping it out I'm looking at time and expense that I'm sort of pressed with. Not only that, but once I start the upgrade I now have to go with the new "arc-fault" breakers on on all the outlets.

            As far as inspection is concerned, once I do over everything that will of course require inspection... but again from my understanding (perhaps that's wrong), "inspection" does not concern itself with old existing wiring as long as it is considered safe.

            At this point I'm still investigating and have a call in to a couple of local electricians, as I just don't have the time or agility to go after this myself.

            Thanks to everyone for your help,

            CWS

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: Romex Type NM to Knob and Tube ??

              Well, at this point I'm planning on putting a single new outlet in each room, each wired to a new circuit.

              Once that is done, I can plug the necessary lamps, whatever into that and thus alleviate having any room or the whole second floor totally without electricity until completion.

              That way I can then remove/cut power to the old K&T circuit and then gradually rewire the old outlets, incorporating each into that particular room's circuit.

              However, the very next step is to talk to the local electrical inspector to ensure that I meet his requirements. There is some question as to whether he demands 15 or 20 amp circuits and if they need to be on Arc-Fault breakers at this date. At present, I'm trying to find a name... which on Friday of the 4th of July weekend is impossible.

              Next week I'm in Binghamton again, where I know what I'm doing (partially anyway). This electrical project is on the agenda for the week after that!

              Thanks again to everyone,

              CWS

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: Romex Type NM to Knob and Tube ??

                CWS

                I hope for now you have shut off power to any questionable circuits for safety reasons. I wish you good luck with this project as it's not going to be easy.

                Do you currently have a circuit breaker load center (panel) with enough circuits? What about the main breaker capacity?

                You might find it easier and more cost effective to disconnect all of the old K & T circuits at the source and leave the alone. Then run new wiring and install new boxes. Have you checked the existing boxes to be sure they are to standards of today so you can install switches and receptacles in them? Are they deep enough?

                Good luck with this and please do keep us all updated.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: Romex Type NM to Knob and Tube ??

                  Hi Wousko,

                  Thanks for your inquiry and concern. I think I got it all covered and everything is safe, IMO! We put in a new CB panel sometime ago and my friend and I took a look at redoing the second floor at that time, but decided it was too much to "bite off" at the time.

                  Basically, we fed the old fuse panel which fed the second floor and we didn't touch any of the old wiring, just proceeding to take car of the new remodel stuff at the time and supplying it all from the new panel.

                  At the time we had contracted with a certified electrician, but he stood us up, leaving us hanging. We already had the inspector scheduled to show up and that put us between a rock and a hardplace, as they say. So, my friend and I put in the new service... from a new weatherhead, grounding, meter box, panel, etc. The inspector passed everything, and told me to come see him if I wanted to change careers.

                  Earlier this year, I contracted with another electrician to take care of my second floor... and once again I got stood up... TWICE!!!

                  So with my time constraints, and with out giving it a whole lot of thinking I did this post with the idea that maybe there was an easy way out. I should have thought it through a bit more.

                  So, now.. the best avenue is to not tamper with the K&T, but instead to put a single new outlet in each room; each on it's own circuit. Once each room now has a "new" electric circuit, I will cut off the old one and simply remove it... replacing all wiring, receptacles, and fixtures/boxes as required.

                  But before I start, I need to converse with the local inspector and building code guys to make sure I meet all thier requirements.

                  Thanks,

                  CWS

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: Romex Type NM to Knob and Tube ??

                    Hey CWS,

                    Every time I hear about someone getting jilted by an electrician, or having a hard time finding one, I'm always forced to scratch my head as to why, especially in THIS economy. Granted the outfit I work for, is swamped constantly, but I also meet other electricans whom were either laid off, or only getting 20 hours or so of work a week. So which leads me to believe that anyone that calls an electrician, that person will be at the front door before the phone is completely hung up!

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: Romex Type NM to Knob and Tube ??

                      Tailgunner,

                      I have never been "jilted" by an electrician or a plumber or a heating specialist. Basically they are professions performing tasks which I, respectfully, would rather not be involved in. If I have the need, I will be happy to pay whatever is necessary to get it fixed. And though there have been times when it was a surprise expense, it is still a problem that needed to be fixed and I don't quibble about such things. (Like the $3K I spent last year to clear a sewage stoppage... hey, what are you going to do, shop around???? NOT!)

                      One of the benefits of my home in Binghamton is that I have an excellent plumber and a heating/air conditioning company that is dependable. Electricians however, seem to be a haunting problem, and it may very well be because they are all too busy and thus not concerned with us little home owners.

                      But, for explanation of my woes, here's where I've been with electricians: Several years ago when I needed to upgrade my service here in Painted Post (Corning, NY) area. I called a locally advertized "certified" electrician. Told him what I needed to have done and could he do the job (timewise, as my siding contractor was now on hold) and could he give me a rough estimate. He did, I agreed and we made an appointment to do it on a Thursday. I called the inspector, and he was scheduled for the following Wednesday. Thursday came, no electrician. Several calls from me and no return. Friday came and still no electrician and no return on several more phone calls to him. At 9:00 pm, that night, his wife answered and said he had gone out of town on a contract and must have just forgotten.

                      On Saturday I got hold of a friend and we both took Monday off, running around to NYSEG and the local electrical supply house where I bought the latest version of the NEC and my wire, clamps, ground rods, panel, etc. (It was also there, that the jerk electrician walked in, saw me, and then ran to his truck for a quick getaway... Gee, I'm really quite harmless and at that point, who cares to do business with him.)

                      By Tuesday at noon, with my friend in the lead, we had the job done... the biggest challenge being able to drive those ground rods into the rocky soild that I live on. Wednesday came and the inspector passed it with positive comments.

                      Up to that point in my life, I had no interest whatsoever in doing any of this kind of work. Some things, I reason, are just best when left to the professionals. But for what I was forced into, it wasn't that hard and thankfully I had some experienced guidance and the NEC to go by. (I also have a pretty good knowledge of at least basic electricity.) But up to that point, I don't remember doing anything more with 120 volts, than rewiring an old lamp.)

                      I bought my house in Binghamton four years ago. First thing I did was call a listed electrician, and another, and another, and another. Out of five, one finally called me back. Very nice guy came over a couple of days later and we went through what I wanted (upgrade service and load panel) and what he figured was needed to accomplish that task. No haggle, just want the job done. He came back twice, once to double check his estimate, and once to bring an inspector with him, to see if my sump was too near where the existing panel was and if the new panel would have to go somewhere else. Got the estimate, it was unquestionably affordable and I immediately gave him the go ahead. I never saw him again. Called him multiple times (probably a dozen) over the next two weeks, to the point where I was practically begging him to call me back. Never returned my phone calls and to this day I still don't know what happened.

                      I then called another electrician (these are all yellow-page businesses). This guy came over, gave me an estimate (within a $100 of the other one) and I gave him the go ahead. I wasn't there while he worked (besides, I don't like looking over anyone's shoulder), and when I returned I had his bill and a recommendation to take care of a few things that he felt was needed. I mailed him his check that day and followed up with a phone call a couple of days later to make sure he had his money and was happy.

                      I told him I'd like to take care of those things he recommended and when could he come back. He said he would and that he'd give me an estimate first. Okay, but I really would like to get those things fixed and he only needed to give me a timeframe. We talked four times after that... I never got his estimate and he never followed up. Finally after several months I just took care of a couple items myself and disconnected the one questionable circuit. (Now, please understand that there are lots of electricians in the Binghamton area and I've only called five and had experience with two... when the need arises I'll surely make more efforts, as there are many more things I'd prefer to do in my retirement, then change out circuit components or run wire.)

                      But in the Painted Post area, there are not many local listings and this past fall I wanted a few things here in the Post updated. I want to get the house on the market. I called a local electrician (again certified and in the yellow pages) and we made an appointment. He never showed. I made another appointment with him and excepted his apoligy for the first miss. Again, he never showed or called. I place two more calls to him, which he never returned.

                      So, I suppose I coulda, shoulda, woulda tried to call the expensive guy in the area, the one with the office downtown and with the truck that I see everywhere. I know he handles a lot of the commercial work in the area... but you know at this point, I've pretty much made some serious attempts and certainly by now I've gained some experience (in both calling and wiring). I'd rather be doing other things, but its now down to a point where I've lost the patience and the time and just need to bite the bullet and carry out the task myself.

                      So, while there may be a lot of electricians looking for work... there's definitely something wrong here. I do know that in the Waverly area, 40 miles the east of us, CVS is building a very large distribution center. A few months ago, they had a rather large "Mexican" labor bust. Seems all the electricians on the job were illegal!!! Makes me wonder, if CVS has had the same luck that I have had and are now going out of the country to get the job done. (I'm joking of course and have a definite distaste for such things... but why the heck are we having to hire Mexican electricians, when there should be a lot of locals?!)

                      BTW, I generally prefer to buy my oil changes too. But when it gets to the day when I have to work to find a place that will do that, I'll have to get out the old filter wrench and drain pan and just do it myself.

                      Happy Independance Day,

                      CWS
                      Last edited by CWSmith; 07-04-2010, 07:57 PM.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: Romex Type NM to Knob and Tube ??

                        Originally posted by CWSmith View Post
                        But in the Painted Post area, there are not many local listings and this past fall I wanted a few things here in the Post updated. I want to get the house on the market. I called a local electrician (again certified and in the yellow pages) and we made an appointment. He never showed. I made another appointment with him and excepted his apoligy for the first miss. Again, he never showed or called. I place two more calls to him, which he never returned.
                        If someone misses a job interview, for whatever reason, I don't give them a second chance [it is different if they call ahead and say it]. If I have to call them, then they're done and I move on to the next candidate.

                        Comment

                        Working...
                        X