Is It Time To Replace The Wiring In My Old House?

According to Electrical Safety Foundation International, outdated electrical systems cause over 50,900 home fires each year. If you live in an old house and are wondering if your home is at risk, here are some things you should know.

Warning Signs

The wiring in older homes is different from the type used today in new construction. Not only is the quality of the materials better today, but the way electrical systems are installed is also different. In your old home, you may have wiring that is 50 years old, or much older than this.

If you notice any of the following problems, you may want to consider getting an estimate to have the wiring replaced:

  • Problems blowing circuit breakers or tripping fuses – this may happen all the time, or you may notice it the most when several different electrical devices are in use all at the same time.
  • Hot light switch and outlet plates – if you touch your covers and feel that they are warm, this is a good sign of a problem.
  • Flickering lights – if your lights are flickering or if they get dim and then bright, it is a good sign of electrical failure.

You should realize that an old electrical system was set up to operate homes at the time. If your house was built in the 1930s, the home probably did not have most of the electrical appliances and devices that you have today. That is one of the main reasons old electrical systems malfunction.

How Old Systems Cause Fires

Because your electrical system was not designed to provide energy to all of the things you are using it for, it could end up causing a fire in your home. Here are some of the reasons this happens:

  • Worn-out wire – wire lasts a long time, but it eventually wears out. The wiring in your house might be cracked and brittle, and it may not be able to carry the current that is needed.
  • Overload – depending on the system and the number of electrical devices you use, your wires might be trying to carry a load that is simply too heavy for it. This will cause switches to overheat, but it can also cause lights to dim.
  • Uneven distribution – one of the features you may despise in your older house is that there are not enough electrical outlets. Homeowners did not need a lot of outlets years ago, but today most people do. If you load up one outlet with extension cords and plugs, you may be requiring way too much output from this one outlet.

If you notice the warning signs in your home, and if you are tired of not having enough outlets to use, you may want to talk to an electrician to find out what it would take to fix this problem.

How This is Fixed

To completely fix this problem, an electrician will need to run new wire throughout the entire house. The job may also require replacing the circuit box and electrical service to the house, and the amount of work needed for this depends on the house.

It is easier to do this in some houses, because of the size and setup, but other homes may require more work. In most cases, this type of job will cost between $3,000 to $12,000, but it could help you prevent losing your house and your family.

The main benefit you will have from this is safety. You will no longer have to worry about falling into the statistics of house fires caused by electrical system failures, and this may give you peace of mind. The other benefit from this is that it may cause an increase in the value of your home.

If you are ready to learn more about this, contact an electrician in your area. You can get a quote and find out how the work would affect your home, and you can decide whether to go through with it or not.