Cloth wiring help

Good morning all,

I have attached a picture of cloth wiring that we took in an inspection. The customer is stating that she has had an electrician and another inspector out behind us. She is saying that they are telling her that there are two different types of cloth wiring the OLD cloth wiring and cloth wiring that is insulated. All our report says is that there is cloth wiring present. From the picture how would you interrupt it ?

Could it be they’re referring to K&T? I call out all active K&T that I see and put a note that their insurance company may insure the home with it. I don’t see any K&T in the picture.

From what I see there is no problem with that wire, and although it may lack a ground wire (and that appears to be a 240 circuit), the wire looks perfectly fine from here.


That cable has thermoplastic insulation. The confusion arises because there seems to be no universal definition for cloth wiring.


The insurance forms simple ask “…any cloth wiring…” so it comes up a bit.

That’s cloth jacketed wires. Not true cloth wiring.
I do not report it on the 4 point form.


That is NMC (non-metalic cloth). Does not have the same safety issues as the older cloth wiring as noted by a few post above.


How do you determine whether or not it’s thermoplastic or cloth and would you call this out on the report?

There are two components of the cable, the outer jacket surrounding the conductors and the insulation on the conductors themselves. According to what I read on this forum “cloth wiring” as referred to on the insurance form is for rubber insulated, tinned copper conductors not copper conductors with thermoplastic insulation.


Agree on the thermoplastic on the front cable. Opinions on the larger red and black conductors behind the bare ?

Looks like SE cable with tinned copper and rubber insulation. You would need to see the ends of the conductor to confirm.

That was my thought too, but wanted to see what others said.

I Might be wrong but, Not Cloth, Fabric wrapped cable.
Old Fabric-Insulated Electrical Wire & Cable Identification

From the link you posted.

Major brands of older fabric-insulated non-metallic sheathed (NMC) wire using this type of (basically cloth) insulation

Found this today. Tinned copper wrapped in deteriorated cloth (old cloth).

I warned you upfront.

Nice photo, Often times even though the outer wrapping is loose the rubber insulation is still intact if it was terminated in a place that doesn’t generate much heat like in a panel. In places like a ceiling lighting outlet the rubber is usually dried out and failing.

Clothed sheathed is totally different than cloth insulated conductors. The cable in the picture is fine.

Like Robert said, the cloth sheathing in the front has thermoplastic insulation, which doesnt need to be called out. However, the cloth wire behind that appears to a different cloth wiring that might need to be called out. That looks like the type of older cloth wrap that probably has a rubber insulation, with tinned copper conductors. Often times the rubber cracks, and becomes deteriorated. This is the type that insurance is more concerned about. The braided cloth is usually not an issue, but when you see the cloth wrapped around the conductors, like the red one in your photo, that is almost always the rubber insulation that may or may not be an issue, you have to take a closer look at the terminations.
Attached is a pic from some that I saw a couple days ago, and you can see how the rubber is deteriorated, and cracking, leaving the conductor exposed. I did have to mention this one on the 4 point report for Florida.

As I said earlier I believe that the larger red/black conductors from the SE cable are rubber insulated, tinned copper but usually there is less of an issue with them (SE cable) because they’re not subject to excessive heat. I realize that a 4 point inspection requires that they be noted even if they’re not in poor condition. The conductors in the photo appear to be fine.

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Sorry, I didn’t realize you said the same thing! Haha
That’s good to know about the service cables though. Most of the time I see these, it’s either feeders to a distribution panel, or it’s for a larger circuit (40 or 50 amp)
I’ve only seen branch wiring like this a couple times