Old Home Wiring
The most common electrical issues in older homes are fuse or circuit-breaker misuse, and non-grounded or improperly polarized plugs and outlets. Old wiring, by itself, does not necessarily mean trouble. However, an electrician will look for specific clues indicating hidden dangers or faults.
Required updates may include the following:
The electrical capacity of the home
Current code requires a minimum of 100 amps, although additional capacity is recommended for today's appliance filled households. It's also important that all wiring and circuit breakers be properly sized for their service.
Insulation can be damaged when a circuit is heavily loaded, or when scuffed or pierced. Rubber insulation, usually from the 1960s or earlier, can easily crumble or flake off the wire.
Prior to World War II, homes were typically outfitted with only one outlet per room. Today, outlets are generally required every 12 feet or within 6 feet of any doorway, so extension cords are not needed as often.
Many old homes do not have outlets that are grounded. Grounded outlets ensure that if there is ever a short circuit on a piece of electrical equipment, the current will flow through the ground system and trip a breaker or blow a fuse.
Ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) outlets should be installed in kitchens, bathrooms, garages and accessible outside decks and swimming pools. Safe wiring. Old homes may require the wiring inside the walls to be replaced. Some homes built in the 1960s and 70s were equipped with less expensive aluminum wiring instead of standard copper wiring in branch circuits, which deliver electricity to each room from the service panel. It was later discovered that aluminum connections can loosen over time, causing arcs and overheating at switches, outlets, and the breaker panel.
A major wiring update to an older home is best handled by a professional electrician familiar with your local building codes.
Home Wiring Safety Tips
Electrical Safety Foundation International (ESFI) recommends that homeowners have their homes electrically inspected, particularly if:
The following are some of the signs of home wiring electrical hazards:
- The home is 40 or more years old.
- The home is 10 or more years old that has had major renovation, an addition, or major new appliance.
- New owner of a previously owned home.
If you observe any of these signs in your home, contact us to inspect its wiring.
- Power outages circuit breakers that frequently trip or fuses that often need replacement.
- Dim and/or flickering lights.
- Arcs and sparks flashes of light or shower of sparks anywhere in your electrical system.
- Sizzles and buzzes unusual sounds from your electrical system
Overheating overheated wires can give off an odor of hot insulation; switch plates or receptacle covers are hot to the touch or discolored from heat build up.
- Electrical shocks, any shock, even a mild tingle, may be warning of an electrical danger.
- Overrated panel electrical panels with fuses or circuit breakers rated at higher currents than the capacity of their branch circuits.
- Damaged wire insulation cut, broken, or cracked insulation.