I have a standard light fixture that is controlled by a pull-string on the fixture itself. What I'd like to do is replace the fixture with track lighting and install a wall switch to control it. The fixture is powered by knob and tube, so there's no ground wire back to the box.

Starting the track at the power source, what I'd like is for the switch to be on the wall at the other end of the track (about 8 feet away).

My question is, instead of running the wire up in the ceiling (thus having to drill through multiple joists and patch a bunch of drywall holes), can I run the wire either underneath the installed track or alongside it?

I can't decide if this is a brilliant idea, a terrible one, or somewhere in between.

  • this situation begs for a wireless switch of some kind, save you loads and loads of effort/cost... you can run wire under there, if you route a path, but it might not be legal.
    – dandavis
    Commented Jan 16, 2018 at 12:27
  • Can you fit a surface raceway alongside the track? Commented Jan 16, 2018 at 12:39
  • I can, yes, and that is probably what I will do if I cannot put the wiring under the track. Commented Jan 16, 2018 at 14:55

1 Answer 1


To start I would like to say that I don't believe you should do any expansion to Knob and Tube unless you plan to at least upgrade that circuit to newer methods.

With that out of the way you can run circuits though lighting fixture and track, but only if it meets certain qualifications and that will be approved by the manufacturer.

Second I don't know of any wiring method that would allow you to run wire underneath a track.

If you really don't care much about how it looks I would suggest an exterior wiring method like "wiremold".

  • There's nothing wrong with Knob & Tube. Put an AFCI breaker on it, and don't give it any further thought. Commented Jan 17, 2018 at 6:16
  • Maybe instead of me saying believe I should say prefer. In any case I prefer to replace antiquated systems before performing work on them. Also check out Article 394.12 Uses not permitted (5) "Hollow spaces of walls , ceilings, and attics where such spaces are insulated by loose, rolled, or foamed-in-place insulating material that envelopes the conductors." Basically your saying knob and tube can only be installed in uninsulated areas. @cephirothdy doesn't mention if it is an insulated ceiling or not. Commented Jan 17, 2018 at 15:15
  • Out west, they have rethought the prohibition on insulation around K&T, with some states repealing it, after long study revealed no effect whatsoever on house fires. Commented Jan 17, 2018 at 20:19

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