If you’re buying an old home, it’s essential that the electrical system be inspected by a professional. You can’t take electrical risks lightly, especially when it comes to your family’s safety.
While an older house’s wiring system isn’t necessarily unsafe, it may be in need of an upgrade. Here are some of the most common dangers associated with outdated electrical systems.
Older homes and buildings often feature a unique design of wiring that runs within the walls and ceiling, passing through drill-holes and porcelain tubes. These wiring systems typically use knob insulators to support copper conductors.
The problem is that these wires don’t always stay in their sockets and may be prone to arcing, sparking, and fire. In many cases, these fires can be prevented by having an electrician rewire your home.
Outdated electrical systems are one of the leading causes of fires in residential and commercial properties alike. According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), 51,000 fires, 1,400 injuries, 500 deaths, and $1.3 billion in property damage are reported annually from home electrical fires.
2. Damage to Electronics
We often think of fires when it comes to damage to electronics, but smoke and soot can also cause serious destruction. Smoke contains different chemical compounds that can damage delicate electronics and circuitry.
In addition to destroying sensitive components, smoke can cause corrosion and short circuits within electronics. This is especially true of computers, TVs, sound systems and gaming consoles.
Power surges are another common issue that can cause significant damage to electronics. These spikes in voltage occur for a brief fraction of a second and are exacerbated by the outdated nature of our electric infrastructure.
In many cases, homeowners insurance policies will cover power surge-related damage to electronics. The key is to know how these events happen and take proactive steps to protect your home’s electrical system.
Many old homes use older wiring systems that don’t meet modern electrical needs. This can lead to overheating of the wires, which may start fires or spark arcs.
If you are living in an older home, you should consider getting a professional electrician to take a look at your system. An electrician can assess the condition of your wiring and determine if it is still in good working order or if it needs a major update.
Some old electrical panels aren’t up to a modern standard and may not have circuit breakers or other features that prevent surges from overheating the wires and melting them. These panels can be dangerous and aren’t easy to fix without an electrician.
4. Circuit Breaker Trips
There are three different wires in your home’s electrical system: a hot or live wire, a neutral wire and a bare copper ground wire. These are the only connections between the electricity in your home and any appliances or other electrical equipment.
If any of these wires come into contact, the current and voltage level will rise dramatically, causing your circuit breaker to trip. This ensures safety by shutting off electricity until it can be fixed.
This can happen for several reasons, but the most common are short circuits and ground fault surges. These are more dangerous than circuit overloads, so you should call an electrician to identify the issue and fix it immediately.
5. Damage to Wiring
The wiring in your home is responsible for delivering electricity to devices throughout the house. You don’t think much about it, but it can be dangerous if it’s damaged or faulty.
Typically, electrical wiring has a life expectancy of 50 to 70 years. It’s important to replace old wiring before it can present a hazard.
An outdated electrical system may not be able to support all the electronics and gadgets you own, which can overload the circuits. This can cause problems such as tripping the breaker or blowing fuses more often.