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  • Knob and Tube Wiring for Arlington Heights MA

  • Circuit Breaker Panel Upgrades for Arlington Heights MA



At Joe O'Connell Electrical Contracting, we know that our clients in Arlington Heights MA want their experience to be professional and efficient. They also require a wide selection of electrical services from us. Below are details for our Knob and Tube Wiring and Circuit Breaker Panel Upgrades services.

 

Knob and Tube Wiring for Arlington Heights MA

 

What is Knob and Tube Wiring?

Knob-and tube wiring is very common in older homes in Arlington Heights MA, and is somewhat controversial. But having knob-and-tube wiring in your house isn’t always a problem and in fact, it is not inferior to modern wiring in many ways, as most believe. Understanding knob and tube wiring and its common issues will help you determine whether or not it needs to be replaced.

So what is exactly is knob-and-tube wiring? This wiring was used in homes until approximately 1950.  The wire gets its name from the ceramic knobs that support it and the ceramic tubes that protect the wire as it passes through wood framing members such as floor joists. 

One of the main differences between modern wiring and knob and tube in Arlington Heights MA  is that the black and white wires are run separately and are spaced several inches apart in knob and tube wiring. In modern wiring, the black wire, white wire and ground wire are all wrapped up in a single cable. Another difference is the wire insulation. Modern wiring is insulated with plastic while knob and tube uses rubber. The breakdown of the insulation over time on knob and tube wiring is often the reason it is replaced. It’s important to note that this is frequently the result of overheating or mechanical abuse.  

The fact that the copper wire used in knob and tube is larger diameter than that in today’s wire is an advantage for knob and tube. Larger wires stay cooler as electricity flows through them.  The fact that the wire is older and has been in service for many years is a disadvantage of knob and tube, of course. Another is the absence of a ground wire, which creates an emergency path for stray electricity that helps avoid shocks. Modern cable has a ground wire, knob and tube does not.

Some of the other common problems you may come across with knob and tube in Arlington Heights MA include:

  • Poor Connections: Problems with knob and tube wire almost always result from amateurish connections made after original installation
  • Cannot Insulate It!: Since it is difficult if not impossible to determine where all knob and tube wiring is run throughout a house, you cannot insulate.  If it were, this could lead to potential fire hazards. In addition, MASS SAVE requires insulation, so if it is desired to use the benefits of the MASS SAVE program, all knob and tube wiring must be replaced with conventional electrical wiring so that it can be safely insulated. 
  • Increased Insurance Rates:  Because of the potential inherent danger in a home with old, potentially failing knob and tube wiring, Insurance Company rates will often be more as compared with homes without knob and tube wiring.
  • Damage: Knob and tube wiring is invariably old and may have been subjected to multiple handymen, mechanical abuse and wear and tear over the years.

  • Brittleness: As mentioned earlier, the rubber insulation on knob and tube can become brittle. The wire will often become brittle in high heat areas, including connections above ceiling light fixtures. 

  • Circuits Extended: Since older electrical systems had few circuits by today’s standards, the chances of each knob-and-tube circuit having been extended over the years is very good. This increases the possibility of poor connections.

These problems can cause wires to short circuit or overheat. Should you have any concerns about these issues surrounding knob-and-tube in Arlington Heights MA, contact us and we would be happy to help resolve your issues or concerns.

If you don’t have any particular issues but would like to replace the knob and tube wiring in your house, the best time to do this is when you are remodeling your home. This is less expensive as the walls, ceilings and floors are open and accessible.  Many homeowners replace knob and tube as individual rooms are remodeled. Remodeling projects usually include adding more receptacles, ground-fault- and arc-fault circuit interrupters. It’s very common to find pre-1950s homes with a combination of modern wiring and knob and tube.

One last important consideration: Many insurance companies may not insure homes in Arlington Heights MA with knob and tube wiring, no matter what its condition. You may need to replace the wiring for insurance reasons.

Joe O'Connell Electrical Contracting has extensive experience in servicing all electrical needs associated with knob and tube wiring and would be happy to assist you as needed.

Circuit Breaker Panel Upgrades for Arlington Heights MA

 

Electrical panel upgrades can become necessary for several reasons. Home renovations or an addition in Arlington Heights MA can lead to the necessity for more circuits than are available with the current electrical panel. Situations can also occur even when additional amperage isn’t required. Panel boxes can begin making intermittent crackling sounds; fuses can begin to blow out on a regular basis, or flickering lights can occur. When any of these problems are noticed, it is time to have the panel box inspected.

 


Major Home Renovation and Additions
Renovations often entail additional outlets, switches, and upgrading of existing fixtures. When this occurs, additional amperage may be required. That means more circuit breakers must be installed. If the existing panel box has no more slots for breakers, an upgrade becomes necessary. For an addition such as a mother-in-law suite, bathroom, or den, several new circuits become necessary. In some circumstances, the panel upgrade may require a second electrical panel being installed and connected to the main panel.

Panel Box Makes Crackling Sound
Intermittent humming or crackling noises coming from the electrical panel are reasons to call an electrician immediately. The sound can be caused by a number of possibilities. A loose wire on one of the breakers; burnt contacts on the panel box, an overloaded circuit, or a worn out breaker, can cause the irregular noise. A qualified professional can test the equipment and determine the cause.

Panel Box Fuses Blow Regularly
Electrical panel boxes that contain fuses “fuse boxes” are the forerunner of the modern, commonly used “breaker Box”. These early types of electrical panels were not designed to carry the loads of the multiple, high tech devices found in today’s home. Decades old, they almost always reach the point when fuses blow on a regular basis. Antiquated by design, fuse panel boxes should be upgraded before these problems occur.

Flickering Lights Caused by Panel Box
Flickering lights is a symptom that needs to be diagnosed by an electrician. If it only happens with one light, the probable cause could be a switch. If all the lights on a circuit flicker, the panel box may need to be examined. Flickering is usually accompanied by a short somewhere in the system. Heat can be created, causing wires to become scorched and discolored. In severe cases, fire can develop.

Corrosion or Rust Issue in Panel Box
If corrosion or rust exists around terminals, breakers, etc... the panel requires repair/upgrading to remove the corrosion and/or rust from components. 

 

Installation by Non-Qualified Personnel

If a non-qualified person, such as a handyman or other contractor without an electricians training and license, installs or make modifications to panel box(es), there can often be issues with improper (and unsafe) installation of components and use of installation methods such as installing wrong circuit breakers for the intended application, improperly using "tandems" or "mini's" to fit within a given slot that don't meet the required power ratings, etc...


Electrical panels are a crucial part of any wiring system in Arlington Heights MA, and as such should be maintained and upgraded as recommended by a qualified electrician. A scheduled yearly inspection will keep problems at bay, and insure the safety and integrity of your home.

 

Joe O'Connell Electrical Contracting has significant experience in providing electrical upgrades - contact us today to assist you with any questions or concerns you may have regarding service panel upgrades in Arlington Heights MA. 

 

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Call us today or use our convenient Request Form to discuss your project needs. 

 

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Circuit Breaker Panel Upgrades, Knob and Tube Wiring, Electrical Contractors, Contracting Electricians Service for Arlington Heights MA