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Is cloth wrapped wiring dangerous?

Cloth wrapped wiring, or more appropriately called "cloth style" is an older type of wiring installed mostly before the 1970s. This type of wiring will typically have two (but sometimes 3) wires wrapped in a non metallic, non plastic material that is clearly a fabric type of material. This type of wring is dangerous because the outer wrapping (sheathing) wears out over time and splits or falls off. This creates a possible fire hazard as a result. Modern wiring is sheathed in a plastic, nylon or rubber material.

Identifying Cloth Wrapped Wiring

Cloth wrapped wiring is easy to identify, and the process is straight forward. The wiring will look old, and the visible part of the wiring will be wrapped in what looks like a threaded cloth like material. You will only find this type of wiring in older houses, usually built before 1970 (or slightly after 1970). You may also see two prong outlets with this type of wiring as well.


Lets look at some photos of cloth wrapped wiring.

Above you can clearly see the outer cover of this wire is a fabric material. The inner portion will contain 2 or 3  wires that are coated in another cloth or in a nylon, plastic, or rubber coating.

Notice the wiring does not look like other wires you've seen in your own personal life, it looks old and is a different material.

What to do about it?

If you would like an inspection to confirm that you have cloth style wiring, please contact me. If you're sure that you have it, I recommend contacting a licensed electrician because this type of wiring is a safety hazard and should not be in use. Additionally, If this type of wiring is present you may also have OTHER electrical issues that go along with this wiring style such as two prong outlets, or known unsafe electric panels.

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