Unconventional wiring in my house

Discussion in 'Electrical Forum discussion & Blog' started by babbo, Jan 12, 2020.

  1. babbo

    babbo Member

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    Nov 10, 2017
    Location:
    so cal
    My 1950 tract house has many unconventional remodel 'solutions.' Originally it had knob and tube wiring with the old rubberized insulation, but at some point that was replaced with THHN. But here's the funky part: they routed the THHN through the old knobs and tubes and the hot wires and the ground wires are often many feet apart. AND they sometimes spliced the wires with the old cloth electrical tape in the middle of a run and with no box. What should I do to remedy this situation? At a minimum it seems like I should remake the splices with wire nuts inside a box and when the THHN runs are parallel replace them with ROMEX. But this will add several more junction boxes to the circuit and I am not sure what effect that will have. TIA for advice.
     
  2. WorthFlorida

    WorthFlorida When the wife won't let you get a Harley!

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    Retired
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    THHN in K&T? Tear it all out from the breaker and run new Non-Metallic or Metallic. What does your breaker panel look like?
    In your description, (I should remake the splices with wire nuts inside a box and when the THHN runs are parallel replace them with ROMEX. But this will add several more junction boxes to the circuit........). Do not splice in new cable to old wire with additional junction boxes. I've said it a few times here, "if you screw up plumbing, you get water on your head, mess up electric and people can die".
     
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  4. babbo

    babbo Member

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    Thank you. For my education, what is the danger with connecting new wire to old if the gauge is the same?
     
  5. babbo

    babbo Member

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    PS . The panel is new. I am replacing substandard systems in the house piece by piece.
     
  6. kreemoweet

    kreemoweet In the Trades

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    Location:
    Seattle. WA
    That all sounds like typical K&T practice to me. There's nothing wrong with old K&T if it's still in good shape (and much of it is), and there's nothing that says THHN
    cannot be used. Soldered K&T wire splices are generally of excellent quality. Any messing around with K&T wiring should adhere to the standards of K&T construction, or else
    be replaced entirely with a more modern wiring method.
     
  7. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

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    Plumber
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    I have NEVER seen a K&T wiring job in a house built in 1950, tract or not. In fact, I would have go back several, (maybe many several), year for that.
     
  8. WorthFlorida

    WorthFlorida When the wife won't let you get a Harley!

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2009
    Occupation:
    Retired
    Location:
    Orlando, Florida
    What I am afraid is if THHN can be used, apparently it can, to splice in a section from old to new to old, or new to old, it that section was replaced because of damage or whatever, what would the rest of it be like inside walls. It's not the wire gauge but the quality of the insulation. This home more than likely was built with 60 amp service, modern home is heavier loads such as window air conditioners, electric space heaters, etc. What I was recommending is replace the entire circuit and not patch things in. However, bobo stated he is gradually doing the the entire home.
     
  9. babbo

    babbo Member

    Joined:
    Nov 10, 2017
    Location:
    so cal
    Thank you all. Yes, what worries me most is the wiring I cannot see – the stuff in the walls. And yes, it seems pretty strange to me too that a 1950 house would have K&T, but everything about this house (and the others in the neighborhood built by the same contractor) is funky. For example the roof rafters are set on random spaces. Between the first two there might be 23 inches and then the next might be 22.25 inches away, then 25.75 etc.. All I can figure is that since they were using planking to sheath the roof they didn't have to hit 48 inch multiples so they just eyeballed it and nailed away. I think California was growing so fast after the war that builders cut lots of corners. The irony is that now these little cracker boxes are worth a fortune. Bit by bit I am rebuilding the house.

    BTW we don't have air conditioning and the furnace and water heater are gas. I replaced all the bulbs with LEDs so the load on the circuits is much reduced.
     
  10. Stuff

    Stuff Well-Known Member

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