need help with code compliance and inspection

ecrannyJune 9, 2010

I am almost finished rewiring my house, and I have no prior experience of doing this, but I spent a couple of months reading the NEC book and researching on the web, especially here. I have 2 concerns at this point: 1) did I get it right? and 2) what does a 'rough-in inspection' require. As far as the first concern goes, I can only hope that I gained enough knowlege to do the work correctly. For the second concern, I have no idea what a 'rough-in' inspection requires... I have assumed that so long as everything is visible/inspectable I should be ok.. but I did make up connections everywhere, just didn't stuff the wries into boxes etc.. I would appreciate any comments/suggestions and here aare a few samples of what I did.

btw, the blue and black cables that are hanging down are phone and video.. I will secure them at some point...

TIA

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samneric

I have 2 questions about these pictures.

1) The romex connected to the K&T wiring: is the romex supplying power to the K&T or is the romex extending the K&T circuit?

2) In the panel, the feeder ground wire doesn't look like it's coming from the feeder conduit. Maybe that's just the angle of the picture. Anyway, the conduit at the bottom of the picture has a white wire that looks like it's landed at the ground bar instead of the neutral bar. Is this where the wire is actually landed?!?

    Bookmark   June 10, 2010 at 5:56AM
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Ron Natalie

I guess some of it depends on local practice. Here they don't want to see connections made during the rough-in stage. What's with the purple wire nuts on the K&T? In the second photo is there really 12 and 14g romex spliced together? What's the OCD on that circuit?

The panel looks like it might be OK. This is a subpanel? It's fed with RMC or something similar? The neutral does seem landed on an isolated bus bar (has any bonding between that and the case been removed). That piece of bare copper is connected between the bonding ring and the ground bus?
I see white branch circuit wires coming in from the bottom, but they appear to go to the ground bus and not the neutral? Is that correct (if so it's wrong).

    Bookmark   June 10, 2010 at 6:24AM
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ecranny

Thanks for the reponse samneric and ronnatalie. The K&T is being supplied by the romex from an AFCI breaker in the subpanel. I have 2 other K&T circuits wired in the same way but they are fed from the main panel. The purple wire nuts are al/cu - the tin plating on the K&T wire at first made me think it was aluminum. Is the use of these nuts a problem? The panel is indeed a subpanel, and the feed is through 1 1/4 EMT, using the EMT as the ground. The grounded bus (nuetral)is not bonded to ground (unlike at the main panel). I have attached some more pics that show the panel more clearly, also part of the feed conduit and its support. The 10g conductors at the bottom are not 'tidied up' yet, but the pic shows the connections. The third pic is a closeup of the j-box that is being fed from the main panel. The 14g romex is spliced to 14g THHN from the conduit, which comes from a 15amp breaker in the main panel.

    Bookmark   June 10, 2010 at 12:02PM
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hrajotte

All I can recommend is to double-check your box fill. In the second photo, the box may be a little crowded. If so, you can put on an extension ring.

    Bookmark   June 10, 2010 at 2:17PM
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brickeyee

"What's with the purple wire nuts on the K&T?"

This.

The purple nuts are for aluminum wire and K&T is NOT aluminum.

It is often solder plated copper and looks silver but aluminum was painfully expensive when K&T wiring was used.

The AHJ will have to make the call on the continued use of the K&T wiring.

Many places require to to be removed from service if a major update is performed.

You do not have to remove the old wires, just disconnect them from power and stop using them.

    Bookmark   June 10, 2010 at 3:51PM
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DavidR

Something doesn't look right about the way that K&T wire is fastened to the knob. Is it really wrapped and *knotted* round the knob? What are the wires from the K&T to the box? Are they new or original, and what colors are they? And how did you connect them to the K&T?

    Bookmark   June 10, 2010 at 9:05PM
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live_wire_oak

Many insurance companies will not insure a home with active knob and tube wiring. YOu'd better check with yours. Either way, plan on replacing those circuits ASAP. Yes, untouched K&T is grandfathered. Yours isn't exactly untouched. It needs to go.

    Bookmark   June 11, 2010 at 12:01AM
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ecranny

the K&T wire is wrapped and knotted around the knob. I did not change that from the original installation. The wires leading into the box are the original wires, I just cut them and put some loom over them. They used to run to a different j-box above the ceiling, but I had to remove that and run romex to the new j-box. The lower wire is a sort of dark red color but further along the circuit it is black, and the upper is a sort of light gray color. I can post more detailed pics if you think it would help?

    Bookmark   June 11, 2010 at 12:12AM
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ecranny

live_wire_oak, I don't know what my insurance company's policy is, but I guess I should find out. Thanks for the advise :) As for as the K&T being 'untouched', I thought the NEC requirement is that it be replaced if possible/reasonable to do so, but otherwise it is ok to splice it to romex in order to connect it to a modern panel. Am I off base on that? I would love to replace the whole lot, but it would mean ripping open nearly every wall, ceiling and floor in the house... not a pleasant prospect

    Bookmark   June 11, 2010 at 12:27AM
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Ron Natalie

Yes, get rid of the purple wire nuts. While I don't know why they shouldn't work technically they are NOT listed for anything other than one Aluminum to 1 or 2 copper (depending on sizes). A sticky instpector might rightfully ding you.

    Bookmark   June 11, 2010 at 10:22AM
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DavidR

> the K&T wire is wrapped and knotted around the knob.
> I did not change that from the original installation.

For whatever reasons, in the days of K&T, the job of wirring a dwelling was more often (though not always!) left to pros. Thus I suspect that some hacker has been at your electrcal system. What I see in your photo is not a pro's work. And it's not right. I don't know for sure that the AHJ will flag it - but I think he or she darn well should.

If I were doing this job and wanted to leave that segment of K&T in service, I'd redo that splice right. The conductors should pass through the slots in the knob, not be wrapped around it. You may need to add a few turns of electrical tape to that modern thermoplastic insulated wire (definitely not original) so it fits into the slot tight enough.

All splices should be soldered and taped with insullation equivalent to or better than that on the wires.

I think at least one length of your loom projects too far into your box, BTW.

Also, I can't see what the wire that heads off at a right angle is doing, but I suspect it might need to have loom on it for protection.

There's nothing fundamentally wrong with K&T. In fact the separation of conductors may actually make it safer is some situations. Pretty hard for hot and neutral to touch when they're a foot or more apart!

However, K&T is usually undersized for modern needs. On a limited lighting circuit, this may not be a big deal - but in lots of older houses ALL the lights were on ONE circuit. When fitted 70 or 80 years ago, they powered one or two incandescent blubs per room, probably no more than 40 watts. Look at what folks put on them now!

Of course there's no grounding conductor, something of a safety issue - though again maybe less so on 100% lightting circuits.

Virtually all original K&T was done with type R wire, insulated with rubber and a woven cloth cover. Over the years time, heat, and air pollution have often hardened the rubber to the point where the insuulation literally flakes off when it's disturbed.

Finally, it's a fire hazard (and a code violation) for K&T to be surrounded by insullation. It can't dissipate heat properly if it is. And guess what, many stud spaces in older dwellings have now been filled with added inssulation. This is probably the best reason for abandoning your old K&T and doing a real upgrade.

> ... it would mean ripping open nearly every wall,
> ceiling and flooor in the hous... not a pleasant prospect

Not necessarily. It depends on the situation, but often you can fish NM with minimal damage to the finished walls and ceilings, just some hand-sized openings that are fairly easily patched. If the flooor above is unfinished you're in great shape, because you can often pull up floorboards to gain access from above. Even if it's finished, you may be able to lift the carppet. There's almost always a way. ...

    Bookmark   June 13, 2010 at 3:36PM
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