Even the most beautiful house can be damaged within. Old, outdated, and even dangerous wiring may be hidden behind your lovely, decorated walls. Even if your home's electrical system seems to be working well and you have not noticed anything unusual (flickering lights, unexpected power outages, sparks, warm sockets), it could be unsafe. If your home is over 40 years old, it might be time to update electrical wiring to ensure that your home is safe and secure. Of course, it will be expensive and require some major construction work, but is not it worth it to know that your family is safe? Plus, an updated electrical system adds a lot of value to an older home.
Of course, not all old homes have bad wiring, but unless you open the walls, you'll never know. Maybe your wire insulation is deteriorating or your electrical system is not even up to code – how will you know unless you have it inspected? Hire a licensed electrician to check it out so that you can determine if and when you need to update electrical wiring in your home. This is essential if your house is over 40 years old, but there are other red flags you should watch out for. If you notice any of these issues, call an electrician and schedule that inspection:
- You get a tingling feeling when you touch an appliance.
- Lights flicker or dim unexpectedly.
- Your circuit breaker often trips or your fuse box blows.
- Your sleeves have sparked, sometimes feel warm, or are discolored.
- A room or appliance has a burning smell.
- There is not a GFCI in rooms exposed to moisture like the kitchen and bathrooms.
- You have multiple two-prong, ungrounded outlets.
You should also check to see if your home uses aluminum wiring, a common feature in homes built during the 1960s and 70s. It was a popular material 40-50 years ago, but aluminum wiring is now considered a safety hazard (it can loosen over time, causing overheating that may lead to fires). Sometimes your entire system will need to be replaced if you have aluminum wiring; other times, copper connectors placed on receptacles and circuit breakers are enough.
Finally, you might also need to update electrical wiring because your home just can not keep up with you. If you have a lot of high-power gadgets that require (in total) more than 200 amps a day, old wiring will not always suffice. Or, you might need more electrical outlets in your home. If you do, have envelopes installed by a professional rather than relying on power strips and extension cords, which are dangerous if over-used.
Faulty wiring is the number one cause of residential fires, so it's important that you consider the health of your system before it's too late. It's a massive, costly undertaking, but it's always worth it if you consider the safety of your family and the security of your home.