Two wires going from garage to main house....House built in 1930..need advice

The wires ( 2 of them) looked like 20 guage…
They were 8ft and 4inches from the ground.
Are they a safety hazard? The realtor mentioned
that lots of houses of this age have them.


That is Knob and Tube wiring. Your Realtor is right–lot’s houses of that vintage them…but it’s still not safe. Especially the way the one wire runs though the rake without protection.

There’s really nothing wrong with knob and tube wiring in itself, but the way it may be used in the garage may be. Most appliances, or tools, used in the garage require a grounded receptacle (three-wire–three-hole) which may not be present.

Roy Cooke said it best…something like this…

K&T is like a 1938 Chevy–a great little car in its time, but it wouldn’t hold up to the demands of todays highway driving.

And if the wires are going over the driveway they should be 12 feet above the ground…10 feet if just over pedestrian traffic.

Thanks for the info…

I had the same thing on a home last year. My problem wasn’t the height and wasn’t a two wire system.

My issue was all the insulation on the wires was gone. Nothing but bare, energized wire. Of course that is one of the issues the buyer asked for repair. The sellers didn’t think it was a big issue and electricians were too expensive…and said no until the buyer said bye bye. They scrambled to get it done.

K@T should not be splice into new romex, if there is romex at all in the house. AHJ may allow the splice but Insurance Company may not.:frowning:
Biggest safety issue is no ground in the garage.

Why? Garage outlets are going to be GFCI protected, right? And since installation of a GFCI on a 2 wire system is done inside the house for using 3 prongs, why would it be anymore unsafe in the garage?

You will not get an electrician to hook up GFCI in a sub panel fed by K@T.

Saw no mention of a sub panel. Many do not have them. The K&T heads directly to a receptacle or two.

Where the Garage requires more than 15 amps you should have a sub panel installed. You may find an electrician that will wire up GFCI in the garage but he should not do this.:smiley:

Most of these old garages have an overhead light and maybe 2 or 3 receptacles. No sub needed but they should still be GFCI protected. Are you saying an electrician shouldn’t install a GFCI in the first receptacle and protect the downline outlets as well? Must be a Canadian thing. :wink:

No! He would have to tie into K@T and that is where the problem is.
Yes he could tie into one and protect 1 to 12 receptacles.
But the question is should he.

Agree. This setup is very common around my area, expecially with all the old (100+ y/o) farmhouses. The K&T service to the garage, usually nothing more than a 1 bay with room for a vehicle only, usually only operates a single light with the switch being inside the back door of the house. In most cases, the insulation on the conductors is deteriorated, and not any more expensive to correct than any other minor electrical repair. A competant sparky can have the conductors replaced within 30 minutes.

Thanks everybody for the feedback…Im going to recommend further
evaluation by a licensed electrical contractor.

I want to see if my signature post.

Hmmm. Looks like a standard overhead 120V feed for a garage built prior to 1965 (roughly), which I see on a daily basis. I wouldn’t refer to it as K&T.

The issues with this set up have been mentioned, and usually include inadequate height/clearance and deteriorated insulation around the conductors.

“Further evaluation” is not necessary. I usually recommend that the feed be installed underground as a safety upgrade, but there is no requirement that these be “upgraded.”

Thanks Jeff…

Good analogy

And there is always a concern about the integrety of the wire insulation on any really old wire.