You might have heard the phrase “out of sight, out of mind”. This is true for many things, but it should never be true for the wiring within your home. For many homeowners, wiring can be a mystery. This is especially true for owners of an older home. Old electrical wiring is often rated for lower amps and cannot keep up with our TVs, computers, air conditioners, etc. This can overload circuits, which in turn can cause a fire. It takes a professional electrician to assess the condition of old wiring, but there are a few things you can check to better gauge your electrical system.
Warning Signs of Faulty Wiring
There are several signs to look for when it comes to damaged wiring within your home. For example, if your circuit breaker is tripping more frequently than usual, perhaps multiple times within a month, there is likely something wrong with your wiring. Another warning sign is buzzing or flickering lights, far beyond the average. If lights flicker wildly or get dimmer when they’re turned on or when many electrical appliances are being used, your wiring is most likely faulty. There are other, more obvious signs such as visibly frayed wiring or scorch marks on an outlet that it is important to look out for. If you suspect anything, don’t hesitate to call a professional.
Risks of Damaged Wiring
The most well-known risk of outdated wiring is the potential for a fire. In older houses, many wires are constructed from copper or aluminum and coated in waxy fabric. Over time, the insulation will eventually deteriorate and become damaged with age. This lack of insulation means exposed wires lurk that can lead to sparks and fire. A simple inspection will reveal whether or not you are at risk of a fire due to your home’s wiring.
Another risk of outdated wiring is the potential for electric shocks. These can occur when attempting to plug an appliance into an outlet with faulty wiring, and injuries can range from minor shocks to serious burns. Outlets themselves can become damaged with a lack of protection occurring from outdated wiring. Outlets are used frequently for a variety of appliances, but if the wiring is damaged or loose they can try to maintain a connection and heat to the point of starting a fire.
Outdated wiring also can cause circuit breakers to trip frequently, which is both inconvenient and risky. Breakers are meant to protect a circuit from damage and to stop current flow when it detects a fault. When a breaker is tripped it means that appliances in your house such as your refrigerator and microwave are placing higher power demands than your electric circuit can handle. This higher draw can cause old wiring to overheat and fail.
What Should Be Done?
If you suspect that the wiring in your home is outdated or has been damaged, don’t hesitate to reach out for an inspection from an experienced professional. It is incredibly important to protect yourself and your loved ones from the hazards that come with outdated wiring. If you’ve got an older home, give us a call. We can inspect the wiring to make sure you don’t have an invisible fire hazard and bring your electrical system into compliance with today’s codes to ensure your safety.