Getting rid of knob & tube electrical

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Posted by: from Welland
4/2/2012 at 2:22:00 PM

My daughter bought a house in Toronto that had quite a bit of knob & tube wiring. An electrician ground the outlets in order for her to get insurance, when she bought it four years ago. Now she is ready to get rid of it all.

Is there a way to do the most rewiring (replacing) with the least amount of destruction to walls and ceilings? She has a 2 floor duplex with an unfinished basement. She has lath & plaster walls which are not as easy to patch as drywall. She also wants extra outlets in certain rooms and dedicated lines for her room air conditioners.

Any advice to offer about what to look for in an electrical contractor?

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Robert from Electrilight Ltd. in Oakville
Date/Time4/2/2012 at 3:42:20 PM

Make sure the contractor has a license, proof of insurance and will provide you with an ESA inspection.

The work wont be cheap as it is time consuming to be careful and depending on your panel, you may not be able to add a lot more outlets for high consumption appliances. If the panel is 60 amps or under and you have an electric stove and dryer with standard kitchen appliances, you are pretty close to maximum and may need a panel upgrade (+/-$1000)

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Pauline in Welland
Date/Time4/3/2012 at 10:51:23 AM

Thank you for your response.

What is an ESA inspection? You did not address the damage potential. Will it be really bad....lots and lots of patching? I assume a city electrical permit will be necessary?

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Robert from Electrilight Ltd. in Oakville
Date/Time4/3/2012 at 2:31:46 PM

They oversee all electrical projects and certify that they are done correctly. There are so many coyboy cablers and DIY'ers that they need to have an authority to oversee ALL licensed electrical contractors and homeowners to ensure their homes don't burn to the ground from faulty wiring.

The ESA provide permits for the contractor who must be licensed. No license, no permit. The home owner should never take a permit out on behalf of a contractor, this only shows that the contractor is not licensed and will no do the job correctly. There must be a licensed electrician on every job, some of these people send non qualified people pretending they are licensed.

The damage really depends on the person, and the companies ability to do the job at a good pace but not rush and get it done fast. These jobs take time and need to find the best ways to run cables and hide them, unless you will allow surface wiring which shortens the job labour, but materials are a bit more expensive.

I have spend a week in one home adding outlets to a main floor with an open basement which was fairly easy with no damages, but the upper floor had no attic space so they decided not to install them upstairs.

I know how my company works with this, but I cannot comment on other peoples work practices, sorry. If you wish to hire a talented plasterer, he could fix any damages easily and repaint some wallls to conceal all.


Electrilight Ltd

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Date/Time4/12/2012 at 12:43:20 AM

Good advice Robert, right on the money.

We have done plenty of this work and no two are ever the same. There will be damage that is for sure, so when you are budgeting, you need to plan for a plasterer / drywaller, paint, etc.

Get several quotes from Electrical Contractors and compare. Make sure they are all quoting on the same thing. If there are plans on renovating, it likely will be worthwhile to get that work done at the same time as opposed to a whole home rewire on its own. Using this approach, you can check out insulation, water pipes, duct work etc one space at a time.


John Kuehnl-Cadwell

Master Electrician

Datawise Solutions Inc.

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Pauline in Welland
Date/Time4/12/2012 at 4:31:37 AM

Thank you all for your information. I've passed them all on to my daughter. We appreciate the time you took to reply to my posting. She will be contacting electrical contractors very soon, still has a little clean up in her basement to do.

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Robert from Electrilight Ltd. in Oakville
Date/Time4/12/2012 at 7:42:49 AM

You are welcome,

It is always nice to give first chance for a quote to those who posted comments and offered ideas... nudge nudge.. ;)

Happy to help you.

Good luck.


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