Electrician to remove knob and tube wiring?

Hi - I'm looking for an electrician who's experienced in removing knob and tube wiring from an old house, including in attic areas. Any recommendations would be welcome. Thank you! 

Parent Replies

Parents, want to reply to this question? Sign in to post.

We hired Guerreros Electric to replace the wiring in our house, including removing knob and tube and other old/questionable wiring throughout the house. Carlos did a great job and explained everything he was finding and doing - he's based in Berkeley and very familiar with the quirks of old houses with old wiring. Highly recommended.

I worked with Nasar from Real Electricians. He and his brother are incredible and removed all the knob and tube from my house. Their pricing is really fair. He is very very busy (as we found with all electricians), so he may take a while to respond. 510-302-8799

I can recommend Sam Sottile at Illuminate Electric, who replaced the knob and tube wiring in our attic two years ago.  We found him to be professional, competent, personable, and very easy to work with.  We would absolutely hire him again for future work! 

(510) 631-1724

sam [at] illuminateelectric.net

I'm looking for the same thing and I'd be interested to hear what electricians people recommend.

I had the Fighting Amish electricians out to the house yesterday to give a bid on rewiring, and they were friendly, courteous, and seem to know a lot about rewiring.  I'll get their written bid back next week.

Kosta at Nicola Tesla Electric removed our knob and tube wiring and rewired our entire home. He’s awesome— super responsive and down to earth, easy to talk with, honest, and high-quality. We call him whenever we need an electrician and have referred him to friends and neighbors. 

Basic Electrical, 510-978-9437

K&T is almost never "removed", instead the old wires are abandoned in place.
Why would you remove knob & tube wiring?
What's motivating the desired removal?

Knob & Tube (or K&T) wiring does not "wear out", it carries electricity just like more modern wire.  And the workmanship in the heyday of K&T with trained electrical guilds is far better than the low bidder average today.  The main issue with K&T is that the number of outlets and the capacity of some outlets is no longer sufficient for modern needs.  But at the same time, with LED bulbs and laptop style computers, electrical needs are going down rather than up.

Rewiring a house, which is done, involves cutting many holes in the walls and ceilings to pull brand new wire, then patching the holes later.  A complete removal is tens of thousands of dollars.  A removal including lighting circuits is extra expensive and offers very little benefit (there's no "third prong" that's super relevant for a ceiling fixture).  Complete removal introduces new risks that you don't have today -- your electrical system has survived for 50 years or more without any problem -- consider it battle tested.   It's good for another 50 or 100 years or more.

The alternative is selective upgrade.  Leave all the knob & tube active, and instead have new circuits run to the kitchen counters and the laundry.  Then for good measure add a whole house surge protector to take the place of the third prong you won't have at any computer or electronic device plug.  Have the entire system inspected by a professional electrician who is K&T friendly.  Replace worn out sockets.  Consider adding an AFCI breaker to any MWBC on K&T (and do not hire any electrician that does not know what those terms mean).  Add GFCI protection near sinks.  Add outlets to walls where there are no outlets, that might in the future grow a bad extension cord.  And if you're using space heaters, stop right there and fix that problem first.

Perhaps instead of removing knob and tube wire, you really need to upgrade an old fuse panel?  What is incredibly dangerous are fuse panels with the wrong size fuses screwed in.  Or, houses with non-professional extensions to the electrical system typically done without benefit of a City permit or inspection.

Signed, a professional and certified home inspector and electrical engineer.

We like Garcia and Son Electric.

As for removing knob & tube: We needed some work done and had a few electricians by. Only one recommended removing the K&T, and gave us a bid for $40,000, without actually going up in the attic or bidding on the work we actually wanted done.  So far as we can tell, the bid was on a square-foot basis, and works out to $40/sq ft.  The failure to inspect is important because part of the house was built after 1970 (no K&T), part of the house was already rewired, yet the bid was for the whole house. Obviously we didn't hire that firm.

My understanding about K&T problems:

-  Americans use a lot more electricity than we used to, and putting too much demand on a wire causes it to heat up, creating a fire hazard. As another commenter noted, this isn't a problem for some circuits, such as ceiling lighting.  It does mean addressing circuits where demand may exceed the wire's capacity, no matter the type of wire.

-  Old K&T may have gotten damaged at some point, for example, if attic rats have chewed on the wire, so it's a good idea to get it (and other types of wiring) periodically inspected.

-  K&T wiring generally runs in the bays between the ceiling joists, and gets buried under blown-in insulation.  If the wire heats up (too much demand) or the wire insulation is damaged (rats), there is potential for the blown-in insulation to catch fire. 

We got blown-in insulation over 30 years ago which buried the old K&T, and we had a problem.  This year we had Garcia and Son inspect the wires in the attic (which were fine) and clear the insulation away from them.  At some point we may have rigid foam insulation installed on top of the joists in the areas where the insulation was removed.

I also used Guerrero’s electric to remove our knob and tube from our attic and half our house and was very happy with their service. Their quote was significantly less than another electrician I contacted. Carlos is brusk, but knows what he’s doing!