If you own an older home in Nanaimo, one that was built in the late 1800s or early 1900s, you may have something called 'knob and tube' wiring and not even realize it.
Like the name suggests, knob and tube wiring consists of insulated ceramic knobs that are attached to the wall studs or floor joists the the copper electrical wire would pass through or be wrapped around. Hollow porcelain insulating tubes are also used as a conduit to run the electrical wire behind walls or inside ceilings, and through paths in the studs or joists.
If installing this type of electrical system sounds like a lot of work, it was. Now days, knob and tube wiring may only be used in very specific farming and industrial uses.
When used in a home, knob and tube wiring can present certain safety issues.
First, this type of wiring does not include a grounding conductor. A grounding conductor usually is a metal rod that is driven into the ground, and helps prevent exposure to dangerous voltage if part of the electrical system fails.
Secondly, knob and tube wiring systems often use spliced - or divided - wiring without a protective junction box.
Even if energy efficient appliances are used in a home, knob and tube systems do not provide the electrical capacity that we are used to today. Fuses will end up getting 'blown' more than usual, and if an unsuspecting homeowner uses the wrong type of fuse as a replacement, higher levels of electrical current will run through the wiring, increasing the risk of heat and the potential for a fire.
For this reason, home insurance companies may deny you coverage if they discover that your home has knob and tube wiring, and some lenders may decline financing unless the electrical system has been updated.
Fortunately, the existence of knob and tube wiring is something that can easily be discovered by a home buyer in Nanaimo during a professional home inspection.