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Whether to rewire house or not.

The house that we bought a year and a half ago was built in the 1930s, I dont remember the exact year. Anyway, there is knob and tube wiring visible in what used to be the garage (was converted into an entryway/laundry room) and visible in the attic. None of the outlets, except for those in the kitchen have three prongs, so I am assuming they are not grounded. The outlets in the laundry room will flip the breaker if I run both the vacuum and the washer or dryer at the same time. I guess my first question is, Is this a safety hazard or could the visible knob and tube have been replaced but just left on the walls/ceiling? Also, would it be worth replacing the electrical system in the house, as I assume it will cost around 10 to 20 thousand dollars to replace it. Would we ever see our investment returned in resale value, or should we just get it replaced and forget about the return on it? Please help! I don't want to be in a house that could be dangerous to us!

Re: Whether to rewire house or not.

I am in a similar situation to you in my house.

The knob and tube is not a hazard unless:
there is anything touching it, this includes insulation, critters and kids
there have been any modifications or changes in the middle of the run, like switching to modern wire then back to knob and tube

Also, just don't run the vacuum and the washer and dryer at the same time. That is a TON of amps being pulled through that circuit and the breaker is telling you to knock it off, listen to it. Between your washer and dryer you can be pulling 15 or more amps on what is probably not more that a 20 amp circuit if your dryer is gas, plus your vacuum might pull 11 amps. Add those up and you get a tripped breaker.

Now the return on investment, you really won't get that back, but you can say "we had the electrical redone in 2013" and the next owner will get the warm fuzzies inside. Safe electric isn't as nice as granite countertops, a claw foot tub with perfect chrome feet and a perfect leaded glass transom, but when you go to sell and the inspector says it's bad, you will end up having to make a cost accommodation or spend the money then.

Get yourself a few estimates, and make your budget. Leaving behind unconnected wire won't hurt anything, but your electrician will probably pull out everything he can just to scrap it. Your realtor can probably recommend an electrician, and a neighbor and google reviews.

Personally I am going to do 90% of this job myself in my house, but I plan to have an electrician inspect my completed work and I will pay im for it and give him some old equipment that he reuses for customers that are too cheap to switch out their Federal Pacific boxes.

Re: Whether to rewire house or not.

That was a good answer form function.

My 2 cents: upgrade and bring the electrical up to code. It will be money worth spending. You may not get it all back if you sold the house now, but it will give you some peace of mind and also will make it easier to sell.

Some electricians will give you discounts (check those who work alone - they have much lower overhead). Others may work a payment plan. You need to talk to a few of them.

Re: Whether to rewire house or not.

Jessi, K & T wiring in the attic probably means it's still being used. To see if it's energized purchase a "non-contact" vo;tage tester (Home Depot etc.) for about $13 and carefully touch near the wiring. If it sounds, it's hot.

By Code unused wiring should be removed.

A single pole breaker that flips when a vacuum and/or the washer or dryer is being run indicates the 120V washer receptacle is on the 240V dryer circuit (Code violation).

This assmes you don't have a 120V dryer, which would be rare or the tripping breaker is not a two pole main breaker, (which would also be bad).

It would be normal to have a single pole 20A breaker trip if plugged into a 120V laundry receptacle, since running both could could pull more than 20A.

However, if there are receptacles on the Laundry circuit that are not located in the Laundry, that would be a violation.

Improving the wiring might not be the "best" investment in your home but it could save lives and property.

I've always argued ,and have been shouted down, that it is a wise investment since at resale time any home inspector or wise buyer will bring it up and demand the asking price be dropped or the wiring be repaired, prior to closing.

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