How long has it been since you last checked your electrical wiring? When you flip the switches, your lights probably turn on, and electronics work without a sinch. However, that does not mean that your wiring is in good condition. Finally, how old is the building you’re currently occupying? If you find yourself asking these questions, this article is ideal.
The two main reasons that would prompt you to update your electrical wiring are that your house is old or you have increased the number of electronic devices. The wiring in old homes may not be incapable of supporting electronic devices such as computers, refrigerators, and modern water heaters. Furthermore, modern devices like computers and TVs stay on for long periods and need more power. So, your old electrical wiring may compromise the performance of these appliances.
Old Electrical Wirings
A feature of old houses is that before the 1960s, wiring cables were insulated with rubber, which was notorious for crumbling. In the 1970s, houses with aluminum wiring were not safe either. Aluminum cables tended to loosen up with time, causing electric fires. A modern cable, such as CAT6 shielded twisted pair, has been designed to ensure cable durability and house safety.
The occurrence of electrical wiring problems presents itself like an infection. There will be a series of observable signs and symptoms that will prompt you to act. The most common signs that a home or building requires wiring are as follows:
- No Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter (GFCI) outlets
- Circuit Breakers often
- Constant flickering or dimming of lights
- Fuses blowing repeatedly
- Warm, discolored, or sparking outlets
- A tingling sensation when interacting with any electronic device
- The consistent smell of burning plastic from outlets
A combination of the above signs would prompt an immediate rewiring or updating of the electrical wiring of the building. There are risks to not updating your electrical wiring. The risks are as follows:
- The risk of electrocution is extremely high. Old wiring that has been subject to wear and tear transmits electricity poorly. Furthermore, the wiring insulation will probably have holes that expose the live wires. As a result, any person who comes into contact with the wiring will get electrocuted.
- House fires are mostly caused by bad wiring. Old electrical systems are considered fire hazards. A large fire eventually results from igniting materials nearby when sparks expose, heat, or produce the wiring.
- Damaged wiring won’t be able to regulate the power safely, as it once could, and it may short your appliances, substantially reducing the lifespan of your electrical appliances. Old wiring may not be able to accommodate modern electrical appliances, reducing their lifespan due to inadequate power supply.
The above hazards can be catastrophic if you keep relying on the old and outdated electrical system. So, you must update your electrical wiring as soon as possible to ensure your family’s safety.
That said, this article provides a step-by-step guide to updating a building’s electrical wiring. Read on for more information.
Consult An Electrician
Many electrical modifications are easy to do and only require a DIY guide. But, it is advisable to hire an electrician to assess the extent of wiring update requirements. For example, a flickering light bulb might suggest the switch is faulty, or the bulb needs replacing. However, a further assessment by an electrician would reveal that your electronics are drawing too much power.
Conduct An Electric Inventory
Your home or business premises will likely have TVs, computers, printers, refrigerators, blenders, or microwaves. These electronic devices will require high power outputs from the electrical system. It is best to conduct an inventory of all devices on the premise and the projected electrical needs.
Know The Local Building Code
The local building code and permits provide the minimum standards for electrical systems in your area. Specifically, these regulations will give the total allowance of outlets required per room. Going against the set regulations could cause your electrical wiring update permit to be revoked. If permitted, you can add more outlets depending on the electrical needs.
Improve The Power Supply Panel
The first thing you must do is to improve your electrical panel by supplying your house with more power from the utility box. You can repair an outdated, damaged, unsafe electrical panel or circuit breaker or replace the current meter and circuit breakers to increase capacity. Doing this can increase the electricity your home’s electrical system can deliver without impacting the wiring in your house.
Upgrade Outlets And Cables
Boosting the power output of your supply panel is likely to burn out old outlets and cables. As a result, your electric system might require new electrical sockets and the upgrading of worn-out cables, receptacles, and wires. Old houses have a certain aesthetic to them. Therefore, you can purchase switches and plates that match the aesthetic of the house’s era.
Electrical systems will be subject to wear and tear with time. Furthermore, a building may experience power surges or low voltage that might significantly reduce the lifespan of your electric wiring. Therefore, it is recommended that you hire an electrician to inspect the electrical system of your building every three to five years.