Electrical Wiring Problems In Old Houses

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Problems with Old Electrical Wiring

Electrical wiring in older homes may not be able to handle the power demands of modern electrical appliances, devices and tools. If you have an older home, you may run into problems with old electrical wiring.

Old Electrical Wiring: What to Expect

In general, houses built after 1940 (that have not been altered) should be safe, provided their electrical wiring systems are up to code. However, certain electrical wiring problems are common in older homes. One common problem is the inability for old electrical wiring systems to handle the power demands of modern households. For example, many older homes use outdated electrical wiring and have an insufficient number of outlets to operate electronic appliances safely.

In such cases, you can upgrade old electrical wiring systems to increase electrical capacity. You will likely have to obtain an electrical permit before making any upgrades to your current electrical wiring system. Because working with electricity can be very dangerous, you should hire a professional electrician if you are unfamiliar with electrical wiring.

More Common Electrical Wiring Problems

Electrical grounding may also be insufficient in older homes. The grounding electrodes in modern wiring are simply not present in many old electrical wiring systems. Your home may have electrical outlets that are neither grounded nor polarized. These outlets have holes that are the same size and offer no protection from an electrical shock.

Other common electrical wiring problems include:

  • Electric short circuits
  • Low hanging wires
  • Problems with the electrical meter
  • Spliced insulation in the service entry conductor.

Safety Precautions

You can look for loose or torn wiring and check for obvious problems like electric short circuits yourself. However, it’s smart to have a professional carry out an electrical assessment of your home to identify any electrical wiring problems that are not so obvious.

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