Electrical Cloth Wiring - Florida

QQ on concern with Electric Cloth Wiring for 4-points insurance in Florida
There is a 150-Amp main panel outside which looks to be newly installed as well as sub-panel inside the home.
The sub-panel and wiring in the attic looks to have older wires / cloth wiring but can’t make out their connections.
Is this an issue / concern / acceptable ?
Is the run from main panel to sub-panel acceptable ?

If by cloth wiring you mean rubber insulated conductors I don’t see anything other than thermoplastic insulation on the conductors in the photo.

Hi Robert, I’m a bit confused. I see the cloth wire in the attic but couldn’t tell where it’s on the sub-panel.

I think that the issue is what is your definition of cloth wiring?

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Maybe hit a J box first.

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Yes, there is likely a Junction box somewhere in the attic, where they spliced all the wires. I see this alot in Florida, and have talked to local electricians about it as well… The 4 point asks if there are any cloth wires in the panel… So they splice all the conductors somewhere else, usually in the attic, and not usually visible. OR they have possibly moved the panel to a different location. Either way, the JBOX is supposed to be accessible… So I usually make a note in the home inspection report that this seems to be the case, but not in the 4 point.
I have even known electricians to strip the cloth in the panel, and tape the conductors with electrical tape, just to say there is no longer cloth wiring in the panel, just so the 4 point can say no cloth…(Even though the rest of the home still has it) :man_facepalming:
Your picture in the attic appears to be cloth sheathing, but rubber insulated conductors, which is not what the 4 point is asking about. Those are typically fine. I would not mention cloth on the 4 point

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Actually, I take that back, the panel in your picture does have the conductors entering the panel… You can see some of it stripped at the bushings, along with some newer circuits… Nothing wrong there

What is the definition cloth wiring?

If you look at the panel wiring, look at the ground wires. That type of wiring typically, had 16 ga for the ground wires on the 15 amp circuits. There also appears to be an open junction in your second picture in back of the extra piece of insulation.

With your experience, like Robert has asked, what would you say is the cloth wiring that the 4 point is asking about ?

@rmeier2 correct me if I’m wrong but this is my understanding: exterior insulation can be fabric-insulated NMC (cloth) and the individual conductors within the cable may be insulated in rubber or fabric-covered rubber or they may be insulated by plastic in later wiring products. The four point here in Florida asks if there is cloth wiring. The way I’ve been doing it (and if anyone from Florida has a different understanding please correct me) If the exterior insulation is fabric but the individual conductors within the cable is insulated with plastic like shown in the OP pictures I do not call out on the four point. Below is from a four point I did today. Sub panel had tinned cooper platted wires that were cloth exterior insulation and the individual conductors were fabric covered rubber. These are the ones I typically mark as cloth in the four point report.

Yes, that is how I do 4 points as well. The outer fabric sheathing, as in the OP photos, are (from what I understand) not as dangerous, as they still have the thermoplastic insulation that holds up, very similar to modern romex.
From the sheathing, they all look similar… however:
Pics 1 and 2 below are what I consider cloth. They typically have a fabric sheathing, but then also have a cloth wrap around a rubber insulation (not thermoplastic) This is also typically a tinned copper conductor. I usually find this on larger circuits (for a stove or air handler), and the rubber insulation is usually starting to crack everywhere. The cloth deteriorates, and then the rubber below is also cracked severely in some cases. --*The third picture is not as brittle on the insulation, like the OP’s pic.
One of the very first four points I did in Florida, I called this type out as cloth, and recommended an electrician to evaluate. The electrician came back and told me that this one was fine, and most insurance companies do not consider that dangerous. So I havent called it out since…


Here is another one I did a few weeks ago: Cloth at the service, and sub feeders, but the thermoplastic on the individual circuits.

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Thank you @dhorton2 that’s how I see it as well and how I’ve been doing it up to now, just wanted some clarification.

Cloth wiring & cloth jacketed wiring are different.

If the property was built prior to 1970, there is a good chance of having cloth wiring. If the house you are purchasing has cloth wiring, it is vital that it be addressed with your insurance provider prior to purchasing the property.

Having cloth covered wiring that is still in use may make obtaining insurance difficult.

One of the major reasons cloth covered wiring isn’t safe is due to the fact the cloth becomes brittle over time and falls off the wiring. This leaves the wiring exposed. Bare wires that come into contact with each other can spark, resulting in a house fire.

cloth jacket wire image

I see the term “cloth wiring” to be a slang term as it’s not defined by the NEC. Some call the NM cable in the photo below “cloth wiring”, some call rubber insulated, tinned copper conductors “cloth wiring”. We don’t have anything like a 4-point inspection here in the Northeast so I’m guessing that the term “cloth wiring” is slang for something, I’m just trying to understand what that is. The conductors in the photo below are thermoplastic so is that “cloth wiring”?

I agree, it’s thrown around a lot, which is i think why there is so much confusion. I don’t like the way the 4 point report is formatted, and this is one of the reasons. I was very confused when I started doing them too. All it asks is "cloth wiring observed? "
Again, I would not call that photo cloth, since it doesn’t have cloth insulation, but thermoplastic.
I usually checkmark the cloth question when it is the older style, before thermo. (Typically cloth over rubber, or cloth directly over the conductor)
I mean, is the photo above even cloth?


At this point so am I… like I said before what I call out is the rubber insulated conductors not the thermoplastic even though they both have a fabric exterior.

Prior to the use of NM cable type AC cable (BX) has rubber insulated tinned copper conductors. IMO if a I had to call a conductor cloth wiring is would be rubber insulated, tinned copper not any cable with thermoplastic insulated conductors.


no, there would be no thermo covering

Old Fabric-Insulated Electrical Wire & Cable Identification

I see AL.