Asked on Feb 19, 2015

Safest way to insulate around knob and tube wiring

by Ana
I have some knob and tube wiring in the basement. The kitchen is right above the area where the knob and tubing is and it is VERY cold. I know you can't cover up the knob and tubing, but is there a safe way of insulating around it without covering it?
  9 answers
  • MaryStLouis MaryStLouis on Feb 19, 2015
    Well, the laws in most areas require that once uncovered, all knob and tube wiring must be replaced and brought up to code. If there is any way you can swing it financially I recommend calling in a licensed electrician to get a permit and do the job right. Then you can insulate and know that you're safe AND warm.
  • Kathi Dunphy Kathi Dunphy on Feb 19, 2015
    Apparently it's very dangerous, every home reno show sees it as a nightmare that must be removed.
    • See 2 previous
    • Ana Ana on Feb 20, 2015
      Pete, I'm not sure if the wiring has been modified in any way. I'm going to contact an electrician and have him tell me what he thinks. Are you an electrician?
  • Pete Wells Pete Wells on Feb 19, 2015
    Insulating with K & T present is straightforward, just tuck the insulation under the wires and all should be an attic, this is easier but under the floor shouldn't be much more difficult...if the old wiring only feeds lighting circuits, it won't be getting hot to begin with...
    • See 5 previous
    • Ana Ana on Feb 20, 2015
      Oh my God! Talk about nightmares!! Thank God I haven't come across anything like that.
  • DiannaLynne DiannaLynne on Feb 19, 2015
    Please replace the wiring before it burns your house down.
    • Ana Ana on Feb 19, 2015
      @DiannaLynne Thank you for taking the time to reply. We've been in this house for 16 years now and have never had a problem with the K&T. However, after having temperatures of -32, we do need to insulate the kitchen floor. Of course as the saying goes, as soon as we decide what we are doing and spend money, we'll probably never have temperatures below 0. :)
  • Janis Janis on Feb 19, 2015
    I would not risk insulating around knob & tube wiring ever.
    • Ana Ana on Feb 19, 2015
      @Janis Thank you for taking the time to reply. I'm not proceeding any further until I talk to an electrician and find out what he has to say.
  • Pete Wells Pete Wells on Feb 20, 2015
    Is the kitchen over a damp crawl space? The general rule for old wiring in damp locations is to rip it out and bring it up to code, and having been zapped by lack of a ground in a wet location, I have to agree! A dry, undisturbed, antisymptomatic professional installation doesn't need to be immediately changed but should be monitored and replacement should be considered when possible..
    • Ana Ana on Feb 20, 2015
      The kitchen is right above the basement and we haven't had any wet issues in the years we've lived there. What disturbs me is when we purchased the house the house inspector mentioned nothing about a problem with the K&T after inspecting the basement. Shouldn't he have said something at that time?
  • Pete Wells Pete Wells on Feb 20, 2015
    I would think he should have mentioned its presence, if nothing else...even if he saw a safe installation, as I get the impression yours must be, since you've lived with it 16 years with no trouble..many have lived with it for years and didn't even know it was doesn't make me cringe when I see it, as BX or Armored cable does, or aluminum wiring..
  • Cindy Ellis Cindy Ellis on Sep 23, 2019

    How can i make safe knob & tube in attic that has blown in insulation. wiring is for light fixtures. Can I remove insulation in surrounding area and box in with backer board. cant afford to rewire. Is Insulation company liable for any of this? just had done last year. Home inspector said violation. Can I make company remove or get them to do anything to correct.Also someone suggested electrician install AFCI's. Is there a cheaper way to rewire I have finished basement and 2 floors and accross length of house to panel. Help