As a home ages, so does it’s electrical wiring. Nicked by nails, pierced by screws, or frayed and cracked due to heat, or just their own old age, electrical wiring in your home is something that needs to be replaced every now and again like your roof or windows. If you don’t and you let your home’s electrical system age beyond its expiration date, you can put your home and your family at risk.
According to the U.S. Fire Administration, U.S. fire departments are called to more than 25,000 electrical fires in homes each year, resulting in over a billion dollars in property loss and over a thousand injuries.
To guard against preventable fires in your home, be on the lookout for the more common signs that your home needs some electrical rewiring.
Signs You’re In Need of Electrical Rewiring
1.) Your home was built before 1980.
If your home was built in the last 40 years — or at least your electrical system hasn’t been upgraded since then — you’re likely in need of an upgrade. Made of aluminum wiring or wiring with a rubberized fabric wrapped around it, old electrical wiring types weren’t built to really stand the test of time.
These electrical wiring types can easily lead to frying wires and cause shorts and fires. While the cost of replacing electrical wiring in an old house isn’t always fun to look at upfront, knowing that you’re upgrading to a safer and more efficient wiring system — most likely copper — means you’re protecting your home from easily preventable hazards.
2.) Multiple trips to the circuit breaker.
A tripped circuit breaker happens to everyone every now and again. Too many appliances plugged in or too many devices in use at the same time can easily make the electrical wiring in an old house sputter and stop, but it shouldn't be happening all too often. If you’re seeing your circuit breaker more than twice a month, it’s likely time to consider electrical rewiring for your home.
If your home has a fuse box instead of a circuit breaker, that’s also an indication that the electrical system in your home is in need of an upgrade. Most modern homes use circuit breakers as they make resetting easy — just flip the switch. A blown fuse, on the other hand, means that a metal filament inside the fuse has been burned through and needs to be completely replaced.
3.) Flickering or dimming lights.
When lights start to flicker and dim on their own, it can be instinctive to think that your home is haunted, but what could be really going on is much scarier. Flickering and dimming lights are often the indicators of a much more serious problem than just an unwanted light show.
If lights dim when another appliance is in use, then there could be an issue with the voltage consistency in your home. If they dim on their own, then it could also be a case of loose or faulty wiring. As loose wiring is one of the main causes of house fires, if any fixture looks loose, it’s important to call in a John C. Flood electrician to make sure that everything is all set.
4.) Hot, noisy, or blackened outlets.
Here’s a list of things your outlets shouldn't do: be hot, sizzle, crack, buzz, or smoke. Any one of these warning signs is reason enough to call in a pro and get your wiring looked at. Hot or noisy plugs often indicate that your plug has a short circuit or is improperly grounded. If this is the case, the plug will often pull more electricity than it needs, increasing the risk of catching fire or malfunctioning.
If your plug starts smoking, turn off all appliances and turn your breaker to off. A smoking plug is a major sign of serious electrical issues and needs to be inspected by an electrician right away. For any of these issues, an electrical rewiring of your entire home can save not only everything in it but also protect your family from the dangers of an electrical outlet fire.
5.) Not enough outlets.
It’s no secret that we’re in the age of the devices. From chargers to screens, gaming systems, and smart assistants, not to mention lights and vacuums, so much of modern life is dependant on being able to plug things in. In older homes, however, there might not always be enough outlets to meet the need.
While this in and of itself is not a hazard, if you’re living off of your extension cords as a result, then you start running the risk of an electric fire. Overuse of electric cords due to either not enough plugs or not enough plugs close to where your devices are can lead to overloaded or damaged cords, exposing your home to avoidable electric hazards. If you find yourself plugging everything into a cord, consider rewiring your home.
Are You Seeing The Signs Of An Outdated Electrical System? Call John C. Flood
Old electrical wiring may not seem like a pressing concern if the lights keep turning on and appliances keep running, but if small issues are left unchecked, they can develop into large, sometimes life-threatening, concerns. Once you notice that something might be wrong with your home’s electrical system, it’s vital that you call a professional and get the issue looked at.
As part of our Service Partner Program, your electrical system will be checked and inspected by trained, John C. Flood electricians, ensuring that your home is up-to-date and up-to-code. Give us a call at (703) 752-1266 or contact us online to sign up for our service program or to schedule your inspection today!