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Replacing Knob and Tube Wiring in Plaster Walls | Rewire Old House With Drywalls

Homeowners often do not like the task of rewiring their houses. Well, it does cost a lot of money, and they may have to tear down the walls. It makes a big mess that you will be left to deal with. 

Are you planning to replace the knob and tube wiring in plaster walls? Can you rewire a house without removing drywall?

If these questions bother you, we have an alternative that can make things better. 

Fortunately, you can rewire your house without tearing down the walls. One of the most effective ways is to find a crawlspace to feed the wire through the drywall.

It may seem intimidating, but you can go about it faster with the right tools and techniques. In this article, we shall look at some of the methods to replace knob and tube wiring in plaster walls.

How to Rewire a House Without Removing Drywall

Updating the electrical wiring in an old house is quite a challenging job. However, if you take it one step after the other, you can finish it without hassle. Here is a step-by-step guide to rewiring your house without tearing down any walls:

Step #1: Plan

Wiring your house is a complicated task, and without a plan, it can become impossible to execute it. The only way to rewire your old home without removing drywalls is by finding ways to move between the floors and the attic. Therefore, make a plan before you begin the rewiring process. 

You will be able to know where to start with a detailed plan. Moreover, you can take someone’s help to get a better idea of how to move about. You can decide on which room to cover and which room to leave behind. 

Additionally, a proper plan will help you understand which area requires extra care. You will also have to decide on the tools and equipment you will need during the process. Most importantly, include safety factors in your plan.

Also, have a clear picture of the required cable measurements. This way, you do not have to run to the stores while working. You may also want to include the cost factor in your plan.

Step #2: Prepare

After planning your process, you will have to prepare for it. This step will ensure that the whole process goes smoothly without any inconvenience. Also, you will have to gather all the tools and equipment.

Once you gather everything that you need, you can check for things that you left out. Then, you can go ahead with drawing a layout of the current circuitry. We advise you to keep it as detailed as possible since it will help you throughout the process.

You can see what needs to change and what does not. Mark the wiring that needs replacement and the ones that need alteration separately. Then, update the old plan with a new plan.

You will have to draw the new circuitry that works for you. Sketch out the different routes required for fixing the new writing. Also, have a clear picture of which tools you need for the individual repairs.

Step #3: Find the Space for Working

Next, you will have to make space for the wires to slide through. You may even have to remove insulation in certain areas to get the most suitable path for the new wires. This way, you can easily feed the new wiring through the outlet.

As you are trying to install wires without removing the drywall, there will be little to no space to move about freely. Hence, you have to crawl through congested areas and the attic. So, make enough space for yourself to move through these small spaces.

With some space for yourself, you can remove the old wires and feed the new wires. This will make the process easier and quicker. However, it is essential to remember that this procedure will not be a cakewalk.

Most importantly, remember to remove all the clutter around the electric outlets and in the room. This will help you work efficiently without unpleasant surprises. Plus, it will also make the process quicker.

Step #4: Turn Off

One of the most crucial steps while rewiring is to turn off the circuit before you start working with the wires and circuits. Remember to turn off the individual circuits you are working on to prevent any accidents.

Also, it is better to turn the power off in the entire house in the breaker box. This way, you can ensure you are completely safe from any dangerous accidents. 

Moreover, it is advisable to work during the daytime when there is enough sunlight. Even when you do so, you will need a flashlight to navigate the spaces.

Step #5: Remove the Old Wiring

Carefully pull out the old wiring and discard them properly. This is one of the most difficult tasks in the entire process. Usually, old wires are stapled to the wall or have tube wiring. 

Moreover, the stapling will be strong and very hard to remove. You can even cause damage if you do not remove the old wiring properly. Hence, you need to be extra careful during this step.

You can cut out the cables and remove the exposed wire part as you move through cramped spaces. You cannot do anything with the buried cable. Hence, you will have to leave it behind.

Also, if you do not mind patching your drywall, you can pull the wires off. However, you can not remove all the cables since they might be in positions that are difficult to remove. 

If the old wires are in trickier positions, you may have to tape the new cables with the old ones by connecting the old wiring to the new wiring. Then, you will have to pull the old cable carefully. This step will allow the new cable to fall in place.

Step #6: Fix New Wires

The final step is to fix the new wires, which can be highly challenging. You will have to perform this elaborate task with extra attention and consideration. Before placing a new wire, you have to pre-cut an opening for each box of the circuit.

You can drill a hole with a diameter of 3 inches to 5 inches at the top wall plate. Make sure to make the holes directly under the openings at the bottom plate. It is better to take someone’s assistance at this step since it can be too difficult to manage it alone.

Then, go on with the three steps previously mentioned for each room, one after the other. Remember that you can face different challenges depending on the wiring positions of each room. Hence, prepare yourself with the required tools before starting with every new room.

Precautions to Take While Rewiring an Old House

Safety should be one of your primary concerns while rewiring an old house. However, you can rewire your old house safely by taking care of certain essential things. 

It is vital that you take the necessary precautionary measures. Below are some simple steps to take before starting your project.

  • Carry a bright flashlight and extra batteries with you.
  • Take help since rewiring is not something you can do alone easily.
  • Measure the wires and cut them in advance.
  • Use masking tapes or other alternatives as they can help you gain a clear picture of the circuit.

Frequently Asked Questions

If you have any further doubts about rewiring an old house with drywalls, this section can help you answer them.

Is Knob and Tube Wiring Safe?

Knob and tube wiring are not dangerous when the installation is done safely. However, an aging arrangement can risk your safety by increasing the chances of dangerous complications.

The modern electricity requirements put too much pressure on these old systems. Moreover, it must have gone through decades of wear and tear. Hence, it is important to take adequate measures to ensure safety while rewiring your old house.

What Is the Cost of Removing Tube and Knob Wiring in Plaster Walls?

How much to rewire an old house can vary depending on the size of the house and the levels of damages. However, most homeowners pay prices ranging anywhere between $1,500 to $15,000. On average, it costs above $800.

The cost includes removal, replacement, and installation of wiring. It also consists of the tools required and labor.

How Disruptive Is Rewiring a House?

Rewiring is a very messy job. Hence, it can be quite disruptive. However, you can deal with this by making sure you set a proper schedule for your work. 

This way, you can also set measures to work even in the absence of power. Choose to work during warmer months which can prevent the plumbing from freezing. Also, make sure to gather all your tools and remove the furniture before you start the project.

If you think switching off power for the whole house is not feasible, you can work on one circuit after another. However, it is safer to work while turning off all the full power.

Does the Homeowners’ Insurance Cover Rewiring a House?

It depends on the type of home insurance you have. However, most homeowners’ insurance policies cover the electrical wiring cost via dwelling insurance, which is not always the case. 

In some cases, you may not get any coverage even though you apply for it. It is so because some insurers treat rewiring your house as a maintenance task. So, they do not cover these charges. 

Final Takeaway

Replacing knob and tube wiring in plaster walls is not a simple task, so don’t rush into it all by yourself. Also, when it comes to fixing the patches, you can take the help of a skilled plasterer.

Moreover, it can take more time than you expect. Therefore, leave room for plenty of extra time for any unforeseen surprises.

We hope this step-by-step guide helped you understand how to replace knob and tube wiring in plaster walls.