Knob and Tube Wiring

   The majority of homes in Downtown Windsor were built prior to 1940.  As a result most still have knob and tube wiring. Knob and Tube  was an original form of wiring and was used from 1880 to the 1930s. As existing Knob and Tube (K& T) wiring gets older, insurance companies may deny coverage due to a perception of increased risk.  Several companies will not write new homeowners policies at all unless all K&T wiring is replaced, or an electrician certifies that the wiring is in good condition. Also, many institutional lenders are unwilling to finance a home with limited ampacity (current carrying capacity) service (which, as noted above, often goes hand-in-hand with K&T wiring), unless the electrical service is upgraded. It is usually easily seen in unfinished basements by the Cermamic knobs and tubes used.  Knob and tube wiring was eventually displaced from interior wiring systems because of the high cost of installation compared with use of power cables, which combined both power conductors of a circuit in one run (and which later included grounding conductors). Many home owners have removed visible knob and tube from their basements, as some insurance companies felt the old exposed wiring was unsafe.  However removal of knob and tube from within walls and ceilings throughout a house is often not completed do to its expense. As well some insureace companies only require removal of exposed wiring.   I have seen some home owners run steel armoured BX conduit outside of walls to replace knob and tube. While this may provide a ground, it is  unattractive.         Another way of recognising the potential presence of knob and tube wiring in a home is two prog plug receptacles.  As knob and tube never had grounds, older plug receptacles had only 2 sockets without a ground. 2 prong plug (receptacle) Two prong outlets are rather inconvenient as grounded plugs to not fit into them. In additon two prong plugs can create a safety hazard. The third prong on a plug is designed to give a fault path in the event the hot wire, or device that is connected to should short out. The absence of a ground path can lead to a electrical shock. For example a metal light fixture could become energized on its exterior, and the lack of grounding will not allow the breaker to trip. The problem is that you cant  necessarily just replace them with a three prong plug.  If the wiring system is not bonded to ground, then that would be an illegal fix. A three prong plug tester will show “open ground”.  In fact it is a good thing you can do yourself. Go around and check every...

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Understanding Smart Meters – ENWIN

Smart Meters are Here As part of a provincial initiative to encourage energy conservation and help Ontario consumers manage their electricity costs, ENWIN is now installing Smart Meters throughout Windsor. The Ontario Energy Board (OEB) has directed energy providers, like ENWIN, to install Smart Meters in all Ontario homes and small businesses, encouraging the development of a province-wide “culture of conservation”. As Windsor’s energy provider, ENWIN is mandated to complete local Smart Meter installations by early 2011. Everything Stays the Same It is important for customers to realize that everything will remain the same, following your Smart Meter Installation: An ENWIN employee will still come to read the meter, EnWin bills will still look the same, and electricity charges will still be calculated in the same way as before. Eventually, the province is expected to switch over to a new rate structure called Time-of-Use (TOU) pricing. But for now, only the appearance of the meter will change. TOU Pricing is NOT in Effect Smart Meters are here, but Time of Use Pricing isn’t. Not yet. You will not automatically move to time-of-use rates once your smart meter has been installed. Provincial legislation requires ENWIN to install Smart Meters as one step towards conserving energy and building for the future. Smart Meters will be installed this fall – but that will NOT have an immediate impact on how you are billed for your electricity. ENWIN customers will be billed differently ONLY after the Province requires us to move to Time of Use billing – likely some time in 2012. When a firm date is set, ENWIN will contact customers directly, and make sure you have all the information you need to benefit from the change. At the present time you will not notice any difference in your billing. ENWIN Respects and Protects Your Privacy As we move forward with Smart Meter installations, remember that Time of Use pricing is not yet in effect. In the future, when the Province requires ENWIN to move to this new system, Smart Meters will help customers reduce their energy costs by offering clear information about much energy is used at specific times of day. How and why you consume energy will remain, as always, private. ENWIN will ensure you are aware of all changes before they occur, and we thank you for helping Ontario build a brighter future. Quick, Efficient Installation Installation only takes a few minutes. A representative from ENWIN’s contractor, Olameter, will knock on your door to inform you that they are there to install your smart meter. Your power will be interrupted briefly, while the old meter is exchanged for a new Smart Meter. If you are not home, the representative...

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