The wiring in your home is an essential part of keeping you and your family comfortable and safe. If your wiring is old, you may notice some issues with it. Check out the following warning signs that your home’s electrical system may be outdated and needs to be fixed.
The Lights Flicker
Your lights should shine at a consistent wattage. If you notice that they are flickering, there’s a good chance that there’s an issue beyond the bulb not working properly. It’s not uncommon for outdated wiring to cause lights to flicker when they are turned on.
Some of Your Outlets Don’t Work
If your wiring is outdated, some of your outlets might not work. This often happens with outlets that are used quite often. Many people that own homes with outdated wiring start to notice that some of the outlets they use the most stop working without any warning. Alternatively, they might have outlets that have never worked while they’ve lived there, and they simply write them off as quirks of the house. However, these do need to be fixed because they could be indicating damage elsewhere in the house.
This is not a job for a DIYer, even an ambitious one. The only way that you can fix them is to hire someone that provides electrical services to come out to your home. An electrician will be able to take a look at your system and find the root of your problem. They can then advise you on what your next steps need to be.
Your Breakers Keep Tripping
There are times where your outlets might stop working because they are overloaded and cause the breaker to trip. You sometimes can get them to work again by turning the breaker back on. However, you may notice that the problem continues to occur if your wiring is outdated. If your home hasn’t been updated in many years, you might need to upgrade your electrical system to handle the increased strain of modern appliances.
There Is a Burning Smell
If your home’s wiring is outdated, you may notice a burning smell. This tends to occur when there is a serious problem that needs to be addressed immediately. The burning smell can be caused by wiring that gets too hot and causes the plastic insulation around it to start to melt.
The Cords on Some of Your Devices Feel Hot
Even if you leave your devices plugged in for a long period of time, the cords on them shouldn’t feel hot. If they do, you need to unplug these devices immediately in order to avoid damage to them. Some devices or cords will catch on fire if they get too hot when they are plugged in, and this will put your home, belongings and family at risk.
Even after an electrician helps you make the wiring in your walls safe for you and your family, you may find that your electrical system still doesn’t perform as well as you might want. This is because our moder, electronics-based lifestyles require more power than older homes are equipped to give us. You may have rooms in your house with only one or two outlets when in reality, you need four or five to support all your appliances, computers, chargers, entertainment centers, and other electronics. Fortunately there are upgrades you can talk to your electrician about making.
Add New Circuits to the Current Panel
As long as there is space available that hasn’t been used yet, an electrician might be able to add new circuits to your existing panel. Doing this might work if the home has plenty of circuits for existing appliances now but you want to add a washer and dryer or dedicated circuit for a microwave or dishwasher.
However, it’s possible an old panel won’t have extra space for a new circuit. An old panel may barely keep up with the current demand for power, and if you add a washer and dryer along with a house full of electronics, the breakers may flip frequently. It could be best to have the panel upgraded instead so that it can supply more power now and have room for expansion in the coming years.
Get a New Panel Installed
The electrician will look at the brand of panel you have as well as its age when determining if it’s best to replace the panel. Some brands of panels need to be replaced because they have a higher incidence of being faulty while others need to be replaced just because they are old. An electrical panel only lasts a few decades, so it’s best to replace an old panel, and it’s a good time to do it when you’re renovating the house.
A new panel provides plenty of room for multiple circuits so you can have dedicated circuits for your appliances and plenty of outlets in each room for your electronics. Plus, a new panel provides more amps so your home will have more power overall that can handle newer appliances. The electrician will note the amps of your current panel and talk to you about your anticipated needs to determine how much of an upgrade you need and want to pay for.
Consider New Wiring Too
Depending on the extent of your home renovation, you may have the drywall torn out so you can rebuild from the studs. If so, that’s the perfect time to have new wiring installed and old wiring removed. Once your building plan is decided, you’ll know where you want every new outlet. The electrician can help plan the electrical design and work with your schedule to install the rest of your new electrical system during the appropriate stages of renovation so when the work is complete, your home will not only look beautiful, it will have a modern electrical panel and wiring to handle all your needs without overloading the circuits.
If you are worried about the age of the wiring in your home, you do need to be on the lookout for the warning signs mentioned above. It’s imperative that you replace outdated wiring as soon as possible in order to avoid a disastrous situation from occurring. You may also need to upgrade your home’s circuits or breaker panel in order to keep up with your family’s daily needs.