Fire is one danger you want to guard against as a homeowner. You can offer protection by installing smoke detectors and fire extinguishers in your home, but you can ensure your family’s safety further by upgrading the old wiring in your house. Your wiring could be dangerous and you not know it if you’re used to putting up with flickering lights and blown circuits.
Here are some signs your home may need a wiring upgrade and that you should have an electrical inspection.
The Wiring Is Over 40 Years Old
Old wiring should be checked because it can work loose and become dangerous. Also, the insulation can become worn with age or because of rodent activity. If your home is 40-50 years old, and it has the original wiring, the wires may have developed safety issues.
For example, if your home was built in the early 70s, it might have aluminum wiring. During the late 60s to the early 70s, the price of copper became so high that aluminum was used for wiring instead. However, it became apparent that aluminum wiring was a fire danger, so the practice was discontinued.
Homes with aluminum wiring were grandfathered in, so they don’t technically violate electrical codes, but they do represent a fire risk that you might not be aware of. An inspection reveals if you have aluminum wiring, and if so, you can work with your electrician to make your home safer. It may be necessary to rewire your house.
The Outlets Aren’t Grounded
One problem with old wiring is the receptacles may not be grounded. Two-pronged outlets were the norm many years ago, and your home may still have them. Don’t be fooled by three-prong outlets that aren’t grounded. Someone may have switched a faceplate to one with three holes. The only way to tell if your outlet is grounded is with a tester.
Modern appliances need to be grounded for your safety and the safety of the equipment. It isn’t safe to even use an adapter that allows a three-prong plug to fit into an ungrounded outlet. Have an electrician ground the plugs instead.
Another problem with outdated outlets is that there isn’t enough of them. Old homes didn’t have the demand for power that is necessary today with all the electronics and appliances modern homes have.
If you use extension cords to help with this problem, you could still create a dangerous environment. You should install more outlets instead. More outlets also reduce the load on individual outlets so there is less risk of fire or tripping a circuit.
The Circuits Trip Often
If you frequently need to flip the circuit breaker back on, that’s a sign your electrical system can’t handle the load you put on it. For example, you might trip a circuit when you turn on the microwave while the clothes washer is running. But that’s not only annoying; it could be dangerous. Appliances need more power than ever, especially when they first power on.
If your wiring is old and outdated, you may even be limited in the type of appliances you can buy if you don’t install new wiring and outlets at the same time. Ovens, air conditioners, tankless water heaters, and other major appliances may have such huge power demands that your wiring can’t handle it. In that case, it’s time to upgrade your wiring so you can buy modern appliances, computers, and other equipment for your home.
You may not know much about wiring and home electricity, but one thing is for sure. You want your home and your family to be safe from fire. Plus, you want your home to run efficiently without constantly juggling what gets plugged in and dodging extension cords.
Call HELP Plumbing, Heating, Cooling, and Electric for an electrical inspection and installation of the upgrades your home needs.