Essential Tips for Handling Electrical Issues in Older Homes
Older homes offer great charm and character, but with dated wiring comes electrical issues. Not only are outdated electrical systems serious safety concerns, but they often cannot handle the demands of modern technology.
If your home was built in the 20th century, it might be time to assess your current system and perform the necessary upgrades to ensure that your home is safe and able to handle all your 21st-century technology.
Assess the Existing Electrical System
The first step in ensuring the safety and functionality of your home’s current electrical system is an assessment. A professional electrician should thoroughly inspect your electrical system to assess the health of the wiring and identify any potential problem areas like outdated wiring, damaged insulation, improper ground, and outdated fuse boxes.
While homeowners can likely do these checks themselves, it’s best to hire a professional with the skills, training, and tools necessary to accurately analyze any issues safely.
Upgrading the Grounding System
A proper grounding system is vital for safe and reliable electrical usage. Grounding provides a direct route for energy to leave your home during a surge or fault, as excess energy can lead to fires or electrocution and damage to appliances and electronics. Improper grounding is common in older homes and often results in a fuse panel that continues to pop.
Homes with proper grounding will usually have three-pronged outlets; however, it’s crucial to have an electrician inspect and test these outlets with the right specialized equipment to determine the status of your grounding system and whether your home complies with local codes.
Rewiring and Insulation
Many older homes use knob and tube, metal-cased, or fabric-covered wires that have aged and frayed over time. Since these wires often have inadequate grounding or are exposed when frayed, they can be a serious fire hazard when in contact with old or damaged insulation in your walls.
It’s best to update this outdated wiring. Consult a professional electrician who can evaluate the current condition of your wiring and insulation.
Fuse Box and Circuit Sizes
A fuse box helps power your electrical current and protect your home and appliances when power is more than a fuse can contain. Fuse boxes from homes built before the 1940s were not meant to handle our current’s electrical load, so you may often experience tripped breakers or blown fuses.
That is because our larger appliances often require 30-, 40-, or even 50-amp service, whereas older fuse boxes are only meant to handle up to 15-amp. To better handle your home’s electrical needs, consider switching to an upgraded electrical panel that boasts 200 amps of power instead of 100 and provides circuit sizes that match the necessary electrical load.
Avoiding Splicing and Overloading
While homeowners may be tempted to splice into their current system to add new electrical elements to the home, this is risky. Improper splicing can lead to overloading and fire hazards. Instead, use junction boxes to help protect your home and family and be careful not to overload your circuits with too many electrical devices being used simultaneously.
Navigating Your Older Home’s Electrical Needs With JDV Electric
The wiring in older homes is often unsafe and unable to keep up with the demand of our modern, technology-driven society. To protect your home and family while increasing your electric systems functionality, consider assessing your current wiring to determine if you need to update your grounding system, rewire areas that have frayed or are in contact with insulation, or replace your fuses and circuits.
While homeowners may be capable of some of these projects, it’s best to prioritize safety and seek professional help. Call a licensed electrician to take proactive steps to ensure your older home can handle today’s electrical demands.
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