Even if your home was built to last, it could be that the wiring hidden within your walls is in need of an upgrade. This is especially true if you know your home’s wiring to be more than 50 years old, or if you’ve recently purchased an older home and aren’t sure about the status of its electrical work.
Upgrading or replacing a home’s wiring is not a small job, but it can be a critically important one. One of the most common causes of household fires is faulty wiring, and it is possible for older wiring to simply degrade to the point of posing a risk. If you’re not sure how soon you should expect to replace the wiring in your home, consider contacting a qualified electrician to conduct a thorough electrical audit.
Age Isn’t Everything
Older wiring systems like knob and tube wiring aren’t inherently dangerous; a professional electrician may be able to inspect such a system and declare it safe and functional. However, these older systems may not be able to support 220 amps like most modern homes, and therefore might prohibit the use of multiple large appliances on a single circuit.
If you’re routinely tripping circuit breakers through the normal use of your appliances and electronics, that’s a sign that your out-of-date wiring may be due for replacement. But there are several other red flags that should spur you to get your wiring inspected:
- Electrical outlets that are warm or hot to the touch
- Appliances that frequently give off mild electric shocks
- Flickering lights
- Unexplained smell of smoke or melted plastic
Get the Timing Right
Electricians can work wonders to replace old wiring without tearing up a home, but because wiring is hidden in the walls, there’s no way around it -- holes must be cut. In fact, one of the biggest cost factors in most wiring upgrades is the cost of repairing walls and other non-electrical parts of the home.
So if you have a home with older wiring and you’re planning on conducting renovations anyway, it’s definitely worth consulting an electrician on a potential upgrade. As long as you’re opening up the walls, you may as well make your home more modern and safer for years to come.
Rewiring during a renovation also presents a convenient opportunity: installing new outlets. It’s always frustrating to have too few outlets or for outlets to be installed in inconvenient places, and a wiring upgrade is the ideal opportunity to add, replace or relocate troublesome outlets. While you’re at it, you can choose outlets with modern features like built-in child proofing or USB ports.
Not sure if your home is in need of a wiring upgrade? Schedule an inspection with a local electrician so you can be sure your wiring and circuits are safe.