I have an outlet with a light switch that currently controls it. What I would like to do is remove the switch so the outlet is always hot. I considered just removing the switch and connecting the two wires, but it's knob and tube and changing anything makes me nervous.

Is this safe to do?

  • Safe... or legal? Safety won't be made worse if the wire and insulation is sound, but modifications often require upgrades. – isherwood Dec 12 '16 at 19:05
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    Can you post a photo of the inside of the box? – ThreePhaseEel Dec 12 '16 at 23:39

The best solution is to replace all old cloth insulated wiring.

If you can't replace a section of cloth insulated wiring the next best solution is to not touch it at all, because deteriorating insulation will deteriorate much faster every time you touch it.

If you are forced to touch a cloth wired circuit, re-insulate with either heat shrink tubing or electrical tape everything exposed while working on it, and upgrade the breaker to AFCI. Given the likely age of any cloth wiring you encounter today, all circuits that you can't rewire should be upgraded to AFCI breakers. Unfortunately, if your circuits have any of their neutrals crossed or shared AFCI won't work and using the new breakers would still require a rewiring. As another response pointed out what you are doing is safe and legal as long as the insulation is in tact, which is always the question with this type of wire. Where the wire's only contact with anything else are the glass knobs, it is safe even without insulation unless something does come in contact with both wires for any reason.

I completely rewired my house, the original wiring was approximately 100 years old, most of the insulation was still in very good shape, but there were also places where it crumbled to dust the moment it was disturbed.


I have been in construction since the early 80s and a General B contractor, and have worked on everything from lake size ponds, to high rise buildings and everything in between. My point is not that I know everything, because I do not.

But, there are 2 things I would never recommend a person doing unless they are very knowledgable or have someone who is that walks them through the process and that is..

  1. Plumbing
  2. Electrical

There are just so many things that can go wrong that it really is not worth the risks, especially with electrical. It does not take much imagination to think of the outcomes from the slightest mistake.

Plus, if something does happen and you do not pull a permit on something that most likely will require an upgrade to present codes, things can really go wrong and insurance will not be there.

I say just get a licensed, insured and bonded electrician and you will all sleep better.

  • Not 3. Structural? – cr0 Dec 12 '17 at 18:37

If you want the outlet to be hot all the time and the insulation is still good remove the switch install a wire nut and put a blank cover on the box. This would be a legal junction box any changes outside the box would require inspection changing a switch or eliminating one in this case is legal. K&T wiring can still be used maybe not the wisest plans but it is both safe and legal if the insulation is intact.

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