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Cloth Wiring In Pre 1950 Homes? Causing Small Fires!


I’ve been an electrician in the Chicagoland area since 1991. In that time, I have worked on many older homes with wiring systems that had cloth insulation or “cloth wiring”. To my surprise homes built pre 1960, relied on this type of insulation. Scary idea to put cloth coating around a live electrical wire! However, cloth will not conduct electricity, it seemed a safe choice. Before plastic was invented cloth was the insulator for electrical wire.

Unfortunately, cloth wiring has its liability. As it ages, the cloth coating starts to disintegrate and expose bare wires. This poses a fire and shock hazard that modern wire isn’t subject to. The main reason it disintegrates is temperature. When cotton wire becomes hot from normal use or ambient tempurature, it begins to dry out like a leaf and crumble.

Does Your Home Have Cloth Wiring? Some cloth wires look like they are modern. Was your home built pre 1960?

Cloth Insulation Falls Off Wires. Cloth coated wire becomes brittle and pieces of insulation break off. Bare wire is a danger to anyone who comes into contact with it. Besides being Dangerous it is also a fire hazard if two wires come into contact with each other.

Cloth wire:

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