Monday, September 13, 2010

Old wires

Subject: old wiring, new fixture
Question: I'm by no means an electrician but have installed plenty of new fixtures before. This time, I am in a house built in 1946.

When I took down the old ceramic single-bulb fixture in the kids' bedroom, I found 4 wires connected: 3 in unmarked/white fabric wrapping and one in black stripes. 2 of the white wires were connected together to one contact point of the old fixture. The other white and the black stripe were connected singly to other contact points. Although it looks old as hell (is that horsehair up there?) the wires are in good shape and not brittle.

Following some advice, I have capped the two wires that were together, together under one cap but not otherwise connected, and I can get the new fixture to work by connecting the striped to black and the white to white. However, apparently it was wired in series as now the bathroom, hallway and attic lights no longer work!

Should I tie in all 3 white wires to the white fixture wire?
Answer: Hi Kazimea,

I would stop now and call someone to come out to your home and look at these wire. It sounds like you could be dealing with some knob and tube wiring. I know plenty of old time seem to think that as long as the wires in the box look good everything is alright. I'm thinking that there is a reason insurance companies as canceling or not writing policies on home with knob and tube. Your wiring is approaching 70 years of age and this stuff was not designed to last that long. As so the was there circuits were wired in the 40s could allow you to send dangerous voltages into other room with out you being aware. I would like to see you with some professional first hand advice.

No comments:

Post a Comment